Federal Judge Orders DACA Program to be Restarted

On August 3rd, a federal judge ordered the Trump administration to fully restart the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

This latest decision comes as another blow against the President’s attempt to get rid of the Obama-era program. Under DACA, undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as children were offered relief from deportation.

However, DACA’s restart won’t happen immediately. John Bates, a U.S. District Judge, said the order would be delayed until August 23rd to allow the government to appeal the decision. Judge Bates denied a Justice Department motion to reconsider his earlier decision and said there were still deficiencies in the administration's rationale for eliminating DACA.

Bates said, “The court has already once given DHS the opportunity to remedy these deficiencies — either by providing a coherent explanation of its legal opinion or by reissuing its decision for bona fide policy reasons that would preclude judicial review. So it will not do so again.”

Back in April, Bates was the 3rd third federal judge to rule that the Trump administration must restart renewals for those who were previously approved for DACA.

Bates also threatened to vacate the administration’s memo ending DACA, which would restore the program in full, unless the Trump officials could present an adequate reason for ending it.

In his 25-page opinion, Bates rejected the arguments used by the administration to show that the original decision to end DACA remained sound. A June memo issued by Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen was particularly criticized by Bates. Nielson’s memo said she stood by the legal rationale laid out in a Sept. 5 directive from then-acting Secretary Elaine Duke.

According to Bates, the Nielsen memo, much like Duke’s before it, “offers nothing even remotely approaching a considered legal assessment that this court could subject to judicial review.”

The most recent statistics show that over 700,000 undocumented immigrants are enrolled in the DACA program.

If the new ruling does in fact go into effect later this month, the Trump administration will be forced to accept new applications from people who meet eligibility requirements for DACA.

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