A U.S. District Judge on Friday asked the Trump administration to reopen the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), a first-time applicant program that protects immigrants from deportation and grants work permits to hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants who arrived in the United States as children.
Judge Nicholas Garaufis in Brooklyn ruled the Trump administration’s attempt to end DACA “arbitrary and capricious”, and ordered the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to post a public notice “displayed prominently” on its website by Monday announcing that it is accepting new DACA applications.
“DHS is DIRECTED to post a public notice within 3 calendar days of this Order, to be displayed prominently on its websites of all other relevant agencies, that it is accepting first-time requests for consideration of deferred action under DACA, renewal requests, and advance parole requests, based on the terms of the DACA program prior to September 5, 2017, and in accordance with this court’s Memorandum & Order of November 14, 2020,” Garafius wrote.
The ruling thus puts an end to the controversies that has followed the program since 2017, when Trump moved to end it.
Former President Barack Obama created DACA in 2012 by executive order after congress failed to pass the bill which was known as ‘dreamers’. The bipartisan legislation would have overhauled the U.S. immigration policy.
The Supreme Court had earlier in June blocked Trump’s attempt to end DACA, but his administration continued to turn down new applications. Trump had argued that DACA was not created through Congress and the executive action that created it invalidates the program.
Consequently, the DHS Secretary Chad Wolf issued a new policy memo in July that continued to block new DACA applications while he subjected the program to a “full reconsideration.” The memo also limited employment authorization for DACA recipients to one year and curtailed beneficiaries’ ability to travel outside the United States.
In November, Garaufis discovered that Wolf had been illegally occupying the position of DHS Acting Secretary, and thus has no right to issue the memo that had halted new Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program applications.
Garafius based his Order on his November ruling which found that not even Pete Gaynor, who the Senate confirmed Federal Emergency Management administrator, and who the Department of Homeland Security tried to substitute Wolf with, qualified for the position of the agency’s Secretary.
“Neither Administrator Gaynor nor Mr. Wolf currently possesses, nor have they ever possessed, the powers of the Acting Secretary of Homeland Security,” the Judge wrote in his ruling in November, ordering the suspension of the memo.
In May 2018, Texas and six other U.S. states filed a suit against the Trump administration, over its inability to end the DACA program that has protected nearly 800,000 undocumented immigrants since 2012.
The suit asked the court to exercise its power and immediately rescind and cancel all DACA permits currently in existence because they are unlawful and set a precedent for the executive arm of the government to overstep its authority by bypassing the Congress to create programs that should have legislative backing.
The seven states claimed the litigation had been more about the legality of the program than it is about an attempt to stop undocumented immigrants from using a lifeline program.
“Our lawsuit is about the rule of law, not the wisdom of any particular immigration policy,” Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said in a statement. “Texas has argued for years that the federal executive branch lacks the power to unilaterally grant unlawfully present aliens lawful presence and work authorization.
“Left intact, DACA sets a dangerous precedent by giving the executive branch sweeping authority to ignore the laws enacted by Congress and change our nation’s immigration laws to suit a president’s own policy preferences.”
It was a season of growing number of suits against and for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.
Universities filed suits alongside other individuals and entities seeking to stop Trump from killing the dream of the “dreamers”. Before the Friday ruling, five federal courts have found the Trump administration’s decision to end the program “arbitrary and capricious”.
The Supreme Court’s Order now gives thousands of immigrants, including students, whose stay in the United States depends on the program, the opportunity to live their dream.