Fed Court Orders Continuation of Both New and Renewing DACA Applications

Federal court judges continue to thwart Trump Administration efforts to shut down the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) with rulings saying the program must continue. Besides their rulings around allowing renewals for beneficiaries enrolled in the program, a federal judge in Washington, D.C. most recently said DACA must remain open to new applicants as well.

DACA, which protects undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as children from deportation, operates as an executive order adopted by President Barack Obama. With the election of President Donald Trump, efforts to dismantle the program face ongoing challenges.

Beneficiaries enrolled in the program gain protections lasting for a period of 2 years and includes work permissions. After President Trump tried to end the program in March, which provided a 6-month notice, legal challenges in two federal courts ruled current program beneficiaries must be allowed to renew their DACA enrollment. However, with the most recent ruling, Judge John Bates characterized the Trump Administration’s effort to end the program as “arbitrary and capricious,” saying officials “failed to adequately explain its conclusion that the program is unlawful.”

With the most recent ruling, DACA continues to fortify its role as hot potato issue among political leadership in Congress. With efforts in dismantling DACA, the president intended to open room for a permanent legal solution for those the executive order was intended to protect– Dreamers. But while Congressional leaders on both sides of the aisle claim support of the ideals behind DACA, ongoing failure in the passage of legislation remains the elected officials’ hallmark on the topic.

“Months of negotiations between the White House and lawmakers of both parties failed to yield a permanent solution for DACA beneficiaries or agreement on other thorny immigration topics,” according to a published report from Voice of America.

Still, the most recent ruling counts as a win for both new and renewing DACA beneficiaries. For elected officials advocating for undocumented interests, the ruling might also serve as a disincentive to move toward work to develop and adopt comprehensive immigration reform.

On the other hand, not all lawmakers look kindly on the ruling. For instance, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, an Iowa Republican, objects to the judicial activism.

“There’s too much of a trend of a district judge, one of 93 districts, saying something is going to be applicable throughout the entire country,” he said. “That seems a little far-fetched.”

Ultimately, Sen. Grassley said, DACA and surrounding issue will be decided at the level of the Supreme Court.