Last month, a D.C. federal judge ruled that the federal government must continue the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and reopen it to new applicants. This decision has been the most resounding rejection yet of the Trump administration’s efforts to end deportation protections for young undocumented immigrants.
Judge John D. Bates of Federal District Court for the District of Columbia said that the administration’s decision to end DACA was based on the “virtually unexplained” grounds that the program was considered “unlawful.” It is the third ruling against the government by a federal judge since the administration rescinded the program in March—with federal judges in California and New York having also blocked the administration’s plans on those grounds.
However, the judge stayed his decision for 90 days and gave the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the entity responsible for administering the program, the chance to better explain its reasoning for terminating it. If the department fails to find a good reason to end DACA, it “must accept and process new as well as renewal DACA applications,” Judge Bates stated in the decision.
Judge Bates was nominated by President George W. Bush in 2001. The Obama administration created the DACA program on the premise that individuals brought to the U.S. as children should be treated as low priorities for deportation.