AILA Video: Judge orders Trump administration to resume DACA

Greg Chen, AILA's Director of Government Relations, discusses Judge John Bate's order to restore DACA, and the possible impacts of the hearing with Andrew Hanen on August 8th on that decision. Image: ShonEjai. Pixabay.

The Court Ruling on NAACP v. Trump

On Friday, August 3, 2018, U.S. Federal Judge John Bates ruled that the Trump administration's decision to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program was arbitrary and capricious. Judge Bates ruled that the administration must fully restore the program but delayed the order until August 23, 2018, to allow the government to respond and appeal. Earlier today, POLITICO reported that the Department of Justice intends to appeal the decision.

In the decision, Judge Bates concluded that DACA's rescission was unlawful. He also denied the government’s motion to reconsider, stating that it had already given the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) the opportunity to remedy any deficiencies—either by providing a coherent explanation of its legal opinion or by reissuing its decision for bona fide policy reasons that would preclude judicial review—so it will not do so again. Additionally, the court states that it does not hold that DHS lacks the statutory or constitutional authority to rescind the DACA program, but rather that if it wished to rescind the program, it must give a rational explanation for its decision.

What does this decision mean for Dreamers?

This could have huge implications for Dreamers. Two other federal courts in California and New York had previously ordered that DACA remain in place while litigation challenging Trump's decision to end it continued. Those rulings only required the government to process DACA renewals, not new applications. If this court ruling goes into effect on August 23rd, the DACA program could be restarted in full, which means that in addition to accepting DACA renewals, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will also have to accept and process new applications. 

Another lawsuit in a Texas federal court, due to be heard by Judge Andrew Hanen on August 8, 2018, is seeking to end DACA. This could directly conflict with Judge Bates' ruling, as there is currently a preliminary injunction hearing on DACA before Judge Hanen, in a case brought by the State of Texas and six other states (Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Nebraska, South Carolina and West Virginia). Judge Hanen is the same judge who initially issued the nationwide ruling preventing DACA from being expanded as well as blocking the implementation of the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA), which would have given undocumented parents of U.S. citizens and permanent residents protection from deportation. If Judge Hanen rules in favor of the seven states suing against DACA, we could have two competing decisions and USCIS could be prevented from accepting any DACA applications.

DACA renewals continue to be accepted

If you are due for a DACA renewal, you should renew your application as soon as possible. At this time, no new applications are being accepted. For more information, check out the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) video on this important issue. If you have any questions about DACA or concerns about your immigration status, please contact us we can help. Follow us on InstagramTwitterFacebookLinkedIn and Tumblr, for up-to-date immigration news.

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