A federal judge ruled late last week that the Trump administration must completely reinstate the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
U.S. District Judge Nicholas G. Garaufis, of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York, said in a ruling in early December that the DACA program must be restored to its operative state in September 2017, that is, in its state prior to the “attempted rescission” of the program by the Trump administration.
Garaufis also ordered the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to post a public notice on its website acknowledging that it is “accepting first-time requests for consideration of deferred action under DACA, renewal requests and advance parole requests” within three calendar days of the order.
The Supreme Court, in a 5-4 decision in June, blocked the Trump administration’s attempt to end the DACA program.
Acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf then published a memo shortly after that Supreme Court ruling outlining new guidelines to reject initial requests for DACA; to limit renewals for the program to one year rather than two; and to reject applications for advance parole in almost all circumstances.
Garaufis, however, found that Wolf was “without lawful authority to serve” in his position under the Administrative Procedure Act, and therefore vacated the memo regarding DACA.
“The court takes seriously any collateral consequence that may arise as a result of the unlawful Wolf Memorandum,” Garaufis wrote in his December ruling. He continued: “The court reserves the right to impose further remedies if they become necessary.”
Garfinkel Immigration Law Firm continues to monitor the situation closely and will alert clients as circumstances evolve.
What is the DACA program?
The DACA program was first introduced in 2012 by President Barack Obama and offers temporary protection to almost 700,000 people.
DACA recipients can also receive work authorization in the United States; enroll at colleges and universities; and obtain a driver’s license.
To be eligible for the DACA program an individual must:
- Have been under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012
- Have come to the United States before reaching their 16th birthday
- Have continuously resided in the U.S. since June 15, 2007, up to the present time
- Have been physically present in the U.S. on June 15, 2012, as well as when the request for DACA status was made
- Have entered without inspection before June 15, 2012, or lawful immigration status expired as of June 15, 2012
- Either currently be in school, have graduated or obtained a certificate of completion from high school, have obtained a general education development (GED) certificate or be an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or armed forces of the United States
- Have not been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor, three or more other misdemeanors and do not otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety