Federal Judge Blocks Trump Order to End DACA

A federal judge on Tuesday evening issued a nationwide injunction blocking the Trump administration from ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, reported The New York Times. The ruling by Judge William Alsup of Federal District Court in San Francisco states that the administration must "maintain the DACA program on a nationwide basis" as a legal challenge—brought by plaintiffs including the University of California—to the president's decision goes forward.

The court order comes in the midst of an intense political fight about the program, which protects young immigrants who were brought illegally to the United States as children from deportation.

President Barack Obama created DACA in 2012 to also allow certain immigrants to work legally in the United States. In September 2017, President Trump moved to end the program, arguing that Obama's actions were unconstitutional and an overreach of executive power. That decision has set off a fierce debate in Washington as Democrats and Republicans spar about how to provide relief for about 800,000 immigrants who could face deportation when the program ends on March 5, the Times reported.

In his ruling, Judge Alsup questioned the Trump administration's contention that the DACA program had not been put into place legally. He asserted that the secretary of the Department of Homeland Security has long had the authority to grant the kind of temporary protections that formed the basis of the program.

The judge wrote that previous beneficiaries of DACA must be allowed to renew their status in the program, though the government will not be required to accept new applications from immigrants who had not previously submitted one. The judge also said the administration could continue to prevent DACA recipients from returning to the United States if they leave the country.

The Justice Department Tuesday night indicated it would continue to fight against the Obama order creating the program.

While some hail the judge's injunction as a major victory for DACA students, other advocates expressed concern that the legal efforts, while well intentioned, could undermine the push to earn permanent relief for the young immigrants.

Camille Mackler, the director of immigration legal policy at the New York Immigration Coalition, told the Times that while advocates were relieved that more DACA recipients would be able to renew their membership, they expected the government to appeal the judge's ruling.

In the meantime, she said, only legislation offering legal status to Dreamers would suffice to protect them.


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The New York Times