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A San Francisco judge’s verdict could topple the Trump administration’s efforts to terminate the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

In a Tuesday night ruling, U.S. District Judge William Alsup criticized the White House’s take on DACA. According to Alsup, Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ conclusion that the program was illegal seemed founded in fallacy and “based on a flawed legal premise.”

Politico.com reports that, unless Alsup’s verdict is reversed by a higher court, the administration will be compelled to make some concessions to Dreamers – a group of over a half-million young people, whose future now seems more uncertain than ever.

Created by former President Barack Obama, DACA extends legal leniency to unauthorized aliens who came to the United States as children. After passing a background check and meeting certain other criteria, immigrants could receive temporary, renewable permits entitling them to work and reside on American soil.

After the White House formally rescinded the program in September, the government set an October 5th deadline for Dreamers to renew their authorization papers.

Alsup’s decision would let those who missed the date resubmit their paperwork. Some sources, including Politico.com, claim that hundreds of Dreamers were denied renewal due to postal delays and employee handling negligence.

But the judge’s unexpected ruling could toss a wrench into congressional negotiations.

Lawmakers on both sides of the political fence had hoped to resolve the DACA question within the first few months of 2018. Alsup’s reprieve, Politico speculates, could undercut the sense of urgency legislators felt in pushing forward a bipartisan bill.

Even if Dreamers no longer have to worry about not being able to renew their papers, young immigrants who haven’t already applied for the program can’t pursue it post-cancelation. Alsup’s decision only extends a thin shred of hope to those who’d already been admitted to DACA.

Trump’s position on DACA and its recipients – commonly called ‘Dreamers’ – has shifted since his campaign.

Prior to the president’s inauguration, the commander-in-chief was exceptionally critical of DACA, as he was of most of his predecessor’s projects. But after being sworn in, Trump seemed to have a change of heart, going so far as to promise Dreamers that they could “sleep easy” with his administration in power.

Near the end of summer, President Trump canceled the program amidst threats of a multi-state lawsuit. Over a dozen Republican attorneys generals were preparing to sue the federal government unless the Oval Office terminated DACA by September 5th.

Afterward, Trump seemed willing to cooperate. Meeting with Democratic leaders, the president said he’d sign off on a pass for Dreamers in exchange for a mild uptick in border security funds.

Less than a month later, he’d reneged, demanding billions of dollars to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

In a written statement published shortly before Alsup’s decision became public, Trump said, “As I made very clear today, our country needs the security of the Wall on the Southern border, which must be part of any DACA approval.”

Alsup’s ruling was largely based on the perceived legality of DACA’s rescinding, with the judge claiming that the program may have been canceled to improve the administration’s bargaining position on border security spending.

Sources

Judge blocks Trump wind-down of Dreamers program

Trump lists immigration demands that could derail ‘Dreamers’ deal

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