DACA Enrollment Could Reopen After Federal Judge Rules In Favor Of Dreamers

The federal court decision should receive widespread support.

U.S. District Judge John D. Bates ruled on Tuesday that the government must continue the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and reopen it to new applicants.  The decision, handed down in a Washington D.C. court, is the "toughest blow yet" to President Donald Trump's attempts to end the program, according to The Washington Post. Judge Bates called the Trump administration's attempt to end the program "virtually unexplained" and "unlawful." 

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"Each day that the agency delays is a day that aliens who might otherwise be eligible for initial grants of DACA benefits are exposed to removal because of an unlawful agency action," Bates wrote in his decision.

Isaac Saul / A Plus

DACA is an Obama-era program that protects undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States as children from deportation. It also allocates work permits, and recipients are covered two years at a time before having to get a renewal. More than 690,000 so-called "dreamers" are protected under DACA. 

The program, created through executive order by President Barack Obama, has failed to become law despite widespread public and congressional support. Nearly nine in 10 Americans want DACA recipients to stay in the country, a CBS News poll found in January. 73 percent of Trump voters approved of DACA as well, according to a Morning Consult poll from April of 2017. Members of Congress on both sides of the aisle have called for DACA to be codified into law, but negotiations have repeatedly fallen apart over unrelated immigration details. 

When President Trump rescinded the program last year, protests erupted in Washington D.C., outside Trump Tower in New York and across the country.

Hector Martinez spoke to a crowd of protesters outside Trump Tower after DACA was rescinded in 2017.  Isaac Saul / A Plus

Princeton University, Microsoft and the N.A.A.C.P. brought the lawsuit forward against President Trump and the U.S. government. The ruling is the third time since President Trump attempted to end the Obama-era program that a federal judge has ruled against him. Judges in California and New York both made similar rulings based on the federal government's failure to explain its reasoning for ending the program. Bates stayed his ruling for 90 days to give the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) a chance to clarify that reasoning, The New York Times reported. 

"Today's order doesn't change the Department of Justice's position on the facts: DACA was implemented unilaterally after Congress declined to extend benefits to this same group of illegal aliens," Devin O'Malley, a spokesman for the Department of Justice, told The Washington Post in a statement. "The Justice Department will continue to vigorously defend this position."

If the DHS does not respond with an adequate explanation in 90 days, Bates will rescind the memo that ended the program and open it up to new applicants, who could number in the thousands. 

Cover image via Christopher Penler / Shutterstock.com.

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