On April 24, 2018, Judge John D. Bates of Federal District Court for the District of Columbia decided that the Trump administration’s decision to terminate the program, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, was based on the “virtually unexplained” grounds that the program was “unlawful.”
The ruling was the third in recent months against the Trump administration’s rollback of DACA. In January, Judge William Alsup of the Federal District Court in San Francisco ordered that Dreamers must be allowed to renew their status. That lawsuit was filed by the University of California, which is led by Janet Napolitano, who was the secretary of the Department of Homeland Security when the program began. Similarly, in February, Judge Nicholas Garaufis of the Federal District Court in Brooklyn decided in favor of attorneys general from 15 states and several advocacy groups that sued to block the DACA rollback, saying that the Trump administration's decision to end DACA was "arbitrary and capricious."
What is the DACA program?
The Obama administration established the DACA program on the premise that children brought to the United States as children should be treated as low priorities for deportation. The program also gives them the opportunity to work legally in the United States. Immigrants must be 15 years old to apply.
What is the effect of the decision?
The judge stayed his decision for 90 days and gave the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), which administers the program, the opportunity to better explain its view that DACA was unlawful. If the department fails to do so, it “must accept and process new as well as renewal DACA applications,” Judge Bates said in the decision, effectively restoring the DACA program in its original form.
What happens to Dreamers and DACA now?
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has resumed accepting DACA renewal applications. Currently, no new applications may be accepted. Under Judge Bates' ruling, if the Trump administration is unable to provide a better explanation for its decision to end DACA within 90 days, then USCIS must begin accepting new DACA applications, reinstituting the original DACA policy that was in place before it was rescinded on Sept. 5, 2017.
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