A judge on Friday ordered the US government to reopen to first-time applicants a programme that protects from deportation and provides work permits to hundreds of thousands of immigrants who illegally live in the United States after arriving as children in a challenge to the administration of President Donald Trump.
The Brooklyn action by US District Judge Nicholas Garaufis focused on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy developed in 2012 by Trump’s Democratic predecessor, Barack Obama. Trump’s 2017 bid to end DACA was rejected by the Supreme Court in June. However, his administration maintained its policy of not approving new programme applications.
Elected Democratic President Joe Biden, who takes office on Jan. 20, said he was working on revitalising DACA.
By Monday, Garaufis ordered the Department of Homeland Security to publish on its websites a public notice “displayed prominently,” announcing that it is accepting new DACA applications. The judge also ordered the notice to make it clear that the DACA job permit must last two years instead of one.
“The Supreme Court decided that “arbitrary and capricious” was the administration’s effort to end DACA and violated federal law. In July, acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf released a memo following the decision, which proceeded to bar new applications for the programme while subjecting it to a “full reconsideration.” The memo also limited the authorization of employment to one year and restricted the ability of recipients to travel outside the United States.
In November, Garaufis learned that Wolf had been unlawfully appointed to his post, meaning he did not have the power to issue the DACA memorandum for July.
DHS did not respond to a request for comment immediately.
Trump’s administration had argued that when he produced DACA by executive order, bypassing Congress, Obama exceeded his constitutional powers. After Congress failed to pass bipartisan legislation to reform U.S. immigration policy, Obama founded DACA. Centered on the name of legislation considered but never enacted in Congress, DACA recipients are often called “Dreamers”.