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.
The judge deemed that the government's case was “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 are part of the program, which was 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 made a similar ruling.