On January 9th United States District Court Judge William Alsup ordered the federal government to continue the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
DACA was started by former President Barack Obama back in 2012. It allowed qualified young undocumented immigrants an opportunity to work legally in the United States and avoid deportation.
President Donald Trump’s administration ended the program in September of 2017. Several lawsuits were filed after the program was ended. These suits alleged the lives of DACA recipients would be upended if the program was terminated.
Aslup writes in his order the federal government did not end DACA on policy grounds.
“The rescission was not based on any policy criticism. Instead, it was based on the legal determination by the Attorney General,” Aslup wrote. “ An important question now presented is whether that conclusion was a mistake of law.”
In his order, Aslup describes the history of deferred action, not just for these young undocumented immigrants but deferred action for several other immigrants.
One example was from 1997 where the office of Immigration and Naturalization Services established a deferred action for individuals asking for relief under the Violence Against Women Act of 1994.
According to Aslup the plaintiffs in these lawsuits have shown a likelihood of success.
“The rescission will result in hundreds of thousands of individuals losing their work authorizations and deferred action status,” Aslup wrote. “This would tear authorized workers from our nation’s economy and would prejudice their being able to support themselves and their families, not to mention paying taxes to support our nation.”
As a result, the judge ordered the federal government to maintain the DACA program nationwide the same way they had prior to canceling the program on September 5, 2017.
“Including allowing DACA enrollees to renew their enrollments, with the exceptions that new applications from applicants who have never before received deferred action need not be processed,” Aslup wrote.
The order goes on to say the government will be responsible for notifying the public that it will resume receiving DACA renewal applications.
This ruling is considered temporary because it restores a portion of DACA that was in place before it’s cancellation. This ruling is not a permanent solution.
Congress is responsible for passing a law that would allow creating a permanent solution for DACA recipients. Negotiations between Congressional leaders continue.