DACA Program to Continue, Federal Judge Orders
A Washington D.C. federal judge on Tuesday ordered the Trump administration to continue protections for DACA recipients and accept new applications if the Department of Homeland Security cannot come up with a legitimate reason for the program’s rescission within 90 days.
DACA, or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, is an Obama-era program that protects nearly 700,000 undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children from deportation. Trump had been wavering between ending DACA and compromising with democrats for the program’s continuation throughout his presidency, but came to the decision to terminate DACA in March.
Judge John D. Bates, the judge who decided on the Tuesday ruling, concluded that the administration’s decision to phase out DACA was “arbitrary and capricious” and that the DHS did not “adequately explain its conclusion that the program was unlawful,” according to CNN.
The government’s decision was largely based on threats of a lawsuit from Texas and other states, reported the Washington Post, a reason that Bates judged insufficient.
Bates is the third judge to overturn the administration’s termination of DACA, following federal judges in San Francisco and Brooklyn, reported The New York Times. However, he is the first to rule that the government must start accepting new applications. The DHS now has nearly three months to construct a clearer argument until Bates’ ruling goes into effect.
While the ruling is promising for DACA recipients, known as Dreamers, there is still reason to be skeptical. The Justice Department issued a statement defending the position of the DHS, saying that “promoting and enforcing the rule of law is vital to protecting a nation, its borders, and its citizens,” reported The New York Times.
In light of Bates’ ruling, and with DACA cases open in appellate courts in New York and California, it is unlikely that the situation surrounding DACA will come to a conclusion until at least spring of 2019, reported CNN.
Dreamers have experienced a rollercoaster of emotions in the past months, constantly wondering if the administration’s decision will come to fruition.
Yehimi Cambron, a 25-year-old DACA recipient and art teacher in Atlanta, told The New York Times that this ruling evokes “a feeling of hope.”
But, she continued, “Even if there are small victories, people are now in survival mode.”