Federal Judge Rules That DACA Protections Must Remain In Place (At Least For Now)

January 10, 2018

Back in September, the Trump administration announced that it would end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program put in place by the Obama administration.  Since its inception in June 2012 DACA has provided work authorization and protection from deportation for certain undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States as children, many of whom have lived nearly their entire lives in the United States. While the program has been extremely popular with the public, many Republican legislators argued that the program represented unlawful overreach by the Obama administration, and that – if it were to be preserved – it should be passed into law by Congress.

Upon announcing the end to the program, the Trump administration alluded to its desire to see such a law passed, and while efforts to craft DACA legislation are ongoing, they have not been given the highest priority by the Republican-led congress. Meanwhile, many DACA applicants have been forced to leave the U.S., being barred by USCIS from applying for a renewal of their status despite ongoing litigation challenging the Trump administration’s decision to end the program.

Yesterday, a federal judge ruled that – as long as that litigation is still pending – that the Trump administration cannot phase out the program. From the Washington Post:

A federal judge in San Francisco issued a nationwide preliminary injunction Tuesday blocking the Trump administration’s decision to phase out a program that shields young undocumented immigrants from deportation.

The injunction by U.S. District Judge William Alsup says those protections must remain in place for the nearly 690,000 immigrants in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program while a legal challenge to ending the Obama-era program proceeds.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the decision to terminate the program on Sept. 5 and said no renewal applications would be accepted after Oct. 5. Under the administration’s plan, permits that expired after March 5 could not be renewed.

But Alsup ruled that while the lawsuit is pending, anyone who had DACA status when the program was rescinded Sept. 5 can renew it, officials said.

The judge did not rule on the merits of the case but said the plaintiffs would suffer irreparable harm if the Trump administration ended DACA before the legal dispute is resolved.

As of Wednesday morning USCIS has not yet updated their website or made an announcement, so please check back for an update or contact the attorneys at Landau, Hess, Simon & Choi if you have a question about how the injunction will effect your DACA status.


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