Fed Branches Send Mixed Messages on DACA

Confusion persists around the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program– slated to end March 5– as immigrants continue receiving mixed messages from the various branches of the federal government. While lawmakers in Congress undertake discussions around the nation’s immigration laws, a federal judge in New York rules the government must fully restart the program to accept not only renewing beneficiaries but to also accept new applicants altogether.

In his early February ruling, Judge Nicholas Garaufis said that while the Trump Administration does have the authority to revoke DACA, the program’s revocation requires a sound and valid reason for doing so. According to The Washington Times, “the Homeland Security Department’s September 2017 rationale fell far short of what is required in that regard,” the judge stated in his ruling.

Judge Garaufis’ ruling counts as the second time a federal judge ruled the Trump Administration’s method of dismantling the Obama-era executive order is out of compliance with legal requirements. In addition, “his decision is the most wide-ranging, ordering the government to not only allow those already in the program to renew their applications, but also ordering the government to accept new applications.”

Judge Garaufis’ ruling notes the administration does have the authority to end DACA, but the method of doing so must fall within allowable parameters. The judge also ruled the administration owns no obligation to approve any particular set of DACA applications.

As those from the judicial branch weigh in on DACA, lawmakers in Congress are wrangling with the program on from the legislative side of the government. While DACA and other immigration issues continually appear as top issues for lawmakers, representatives repeatedly fail in finding workable solutions.

Where the administrative branch of government is concerned, President Trump already signaled his support of the DACA structure, even expanding the number of undocumented immigrants eligible for the program. President Trump also moves beyond simply bestowing legal status to these DACA beneficiaries– Dreamers– but he also supports a pathway to citizenship.

The political sticking point in the mix comes in with the president’s insistence on comprehensive immigration legislation. He publicly states his opposition and threatens a veto on any legislation amounting to only a short-term immigration fix.