Last week, Judge John D. Bates of Federal District Court for the District
of Columbia blocked the U.S. government’s attempt to terminate DACA
program, ordering that protections must remain in place for young undocumented
immigrants--also known as Dreamers--and resume accepting new applications.
This ruling was the third in recent months, following similar decisions
by federal judges in California and New York.
Bates called the government’s decision to end DACA “virtually
unexplained” and therefore “unlawful.” He stated that
the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) failed to adequately explain
its reasoning that the program was against the law.
However, the effects of the decision won’t occur for 90 days, giving
the Department the opportunity to come up with a better explanation for
its decision to end the program. If DHS fails to do so, then it needs
to “accept and process new as well as renewal DACA applications.”
Approximately 700,000 Dreamers have signed up, but are required to renew
their DACA status every two years. The program--initiated by President
Obama in 2012--also provides them the chance to legally work in the country.
Immigrants need to be 15 years of age to apply.
In September of last year, the Trump administration proposed a plan for
the DHS to phase out DACA by letting two-year protections and work permits
issued under the program expire without the option to renew them. Additionally,
the government allowed those with permits that expired before March 5
a one-month window to apply for a renewal, virtually resetting their two-year clock
Yet, 20,000 of the 150,000 eligible Dreamers didn’t due to either
being rejected, unable to gather the proper paperwork, and pay the $500,
or reluctant to trust the government with their personal data and enroll
again. Furthermore, the DHS admitted that thousands of applications may
have been lost in the mail or delivered on time but were considered as late.
Then, in January, Judge William Alsup of the Federal District Court in
San Francisco ordered Dreamers must be allowed to renew their status.
The subsequent month, Judge Nicholas Garaufis of the Federal District
Court in Brooklyn decided in favor of 15 state attorney generals and several
advocacy groups that sued to block the DACA rollback.
For more information,
Santa Barbara immigration attorney at
Appel & Morse today.