In early January, a U.S. district judge in California placed a temporary halt on the Trump administration’s attempts to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. This occurred after Trump mulled over “tak[ing] the heat” from his conservative base for supporting a bipartisan congressional deal to protect Dreamers from deportation. Trump then offered a “path to citizenship” as long as he got funding for the Wall, which hasn’t happened, and Congress is still hammering away on an immigration deal, which might happen within the next week. In the meantime, a second federal judge isn’t taking any chances.
In Brooklyn, U.S. District Judge Nicholas Garaufis blocked the Trump administration from ending the DACA program in March as previously planned. However, Garaufis stopped short of placing a permanent halt on rescinding DACA, but the court is demanding a stronger rationale from Team Trump:
In the ruling on Tuesday, Garaufis said the Trump administration could eventually rescind the DACA program. However, the reasons it gave last year for winding down the program were too arbitrary and could not stand, the judge said.
Garaufis ordered the government to process both initial requests for DACA status, as well as renewals, on the same terms as had been in place before the administration made its announcement last September.
In other words, DACA is protected (again) for now, regardless of whether the Supreme Court decides to hear the Trump administration’s appeal of the first federal ruling out of California. That decision might arrive within days, and in the meantime, Congress will keep on arguing. All three government branches are firmly entrenched in a fight over undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as minors, and hundreds of thousands of lives hang in the balance.