While immigration advocates have rejoiced, administration officials have signaled that they are preparing for another assault on DACA.
A federal judge has ordered the Trump administration to begin accepting new applications for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
The order comes a month after the U.S. Supreme Court blocked the administration’s move to end DACA. In their decision, the justices determined that the Trump administration was unable to provide an adequate, rational reason for terminating the program.
In his Friday order, Judge Paul Grimm, of the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland, said DACA must be returned to its “pre-September 5, 2017 status.”
In other words, DACA’s provisions must remain intact exactly as they were prior to President Donald Trump’s official decision to dismantle the program.
DACA, an Obama-era program, provides temporary, renewable work and residency permits to undocumented immigrants who came to the United States as children. In order to qualify for DACA, applicants must meet certain criteria, such as being able to pass a criminal background check.
While President Donald Trump initially offered assurance to DACA recipients—commonly known as “Dreamers”—he moved to end the program in September 2017. However, a series of lawsuits and court orders allowed qualified Dreamers to continue renewing their status.
Now, the administration will have to begin processing new applications, too.
Nick Katz, senior manager of legal services at immigration advocacy group CASA, said Grimm’s ruling bis a relief.
“We are extremely pleased and excited by Judge Grimm’s order, but it’s really just effectuating the decision the Supreme Court made a month ago,” Katz said. “I hope this order makes it clear to [the Department of Homeland Security] that they can’t delay any longer. They need to reopen the program.”
CNN notes that it is unclear how many undocumented youth may be willing to apply for DACA, as the process entails submitting personal information to an administration which has been
Furthermore, it appears the Trump administration is cooking up yet another plan to sabotage DACA. In June, Trump tweeted that he plans to submit and support “enhanced papers” to do away with the program. And, in response to the president’s tweet, Acting Homeland Security Deputy Secretary Ken Cuccinelli said his agency’s “on it.”
In a separate statement, Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf said the administration has “rewritten a way to wind the program down.”
“This is for the President,” Wolf said, “and is his decision at the end of the day, but we are here to support.”
Katz noted that other government agencies, such as U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services—which is responsible for processing DACA applications—has yet to designate a process for adjudicating prospective Dreamers’ requests.
“Today’s order leaves absolutely no doubt that USCIS needs to start processing new DACA applications, which they have failed to do even though they have been required to do so,” Katz said.
“We’re a nation that is built on the role of law,” he added, “and this administration needs to accept this and accept the court’s decision.”