Judge John D. Bates joins other federal judges in support of the Obama-era program that provides benefits to undocumented youth
The Trump administration has been dealt with yet another blow in its mission to terminate a program which grants work authorization and protection from deportation to undocumented youth.
Judge John D. Bates of the Federal District Court for the District of Columbia ruled on Tuesday, April 24 that the federal government must keep the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) in place and continue accepting new applications.
Like previous federal judges’ rulings, Bates found that the phasing out of DACA was “arbitrary and capricious” because the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) lacked an adequate explanation for “its conclusion that the program was unlawful.”
He also said that the administration provided “meager legal reasoning” in its justification of ending the program. Given that hundreds of thousands of DACA recipients (nearly 650,000 by some estimates) came to the U.S. as children, Bates has called the move to end DACA “particularly egregious.”
Bates’ ruling will take place in 90 days to give enough time “to allow the agency an opportunity to better explain its rescission.”
DACA was first put into effect via an executive order by former President Barack Obama in 2012. Since then, hundreds of thousands of undocumented youth have been able to work (through renewable two-year permits) and have reported better career and education opportunities because of DACA.
In addition to work opportunities and protection from deportation, DACA recipients are granted other benefits that vary from state to state. In California, for example, DACA recipients may apply for a driver’s license.
Bates’ decision adds to a string of the Trump administration’s legal defeats in their multiple attempts to terminate the program. Although the administration maintains its view that the passing of DACA violated the Constitution, no federal court so far has found it to be unconstitutional.
In response to the ruling, the Justice Department (on behalf of the Trump administration) released a statement standing by the administration’s initial reasoning, reiterating its view that DACA is an “unlawful circumvention of Congress” and that it will continue to make its case to the court.
“The Department of Homeland Security therefore acted within its lawful authority in deciding to wind down DACA in an orderly manner,” DHS spokesman Devin O’Malley said in a statement. “Promoting and enforcing the rule of law is vital to protecting a nation, its borders, and its citizens. The Justice Department will continue to vigorously defend this position, and looks forward to vindicating its position in further litigation.”
For the last eight months, DACA recipients and their families have been scrambling to secure their benefits after Trump announced the termination on September 5, 2017. As previously reported in the Asian Journal, after many federal judges’ rulings, DACA has already been allowed to resume after its March 5, 2018 deadline administered by the president. (Klarize Medenilla/AJPress)