Judge to DHS: Come up with a better explanation, or start taking DACA applications again

Judge to DHS: Come up with a better explanation, or start taking DACA applications again
A federal judge ruled on Tuesday that the Department of Homeland Security has not sufficiently justified its reasoning for ending the DACA program. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

On Tuesday, a third federal judge ruled against the Trump administration’s rescinding of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, adding that new applicants would be allowed within a ninety-day period unless a better explanation is given for ending DACA.

U.S. District Judge John D. Bates said that the Department of Homeland Security’s decision to phase out the program “was arbitrary and capricious because the Department failed adequately to explain its conclusion that the program was unlawful.”

The judge said that unless the Department provides sufficient reasoning for halting the program, “DHS must accept and process new as well as renewal DACA applications.”

Bates added: “Each day that the agency delays is a day that aliens who might otherwise be eligible for initial grants of DACA benefits are exposed to removal because of an unlawful agency action.”

DACA provides deportation protections and work permits for nearly 700,000 illegal immigrants who were brought to the United States as children.

Executive director of the National Immigration Forum, Ali Noorani, praised the judge’s ruling, saying, “This decision verifies the Trump administration failed to prove the DACA program is illegal.

Either President Trump finds another way to end the program, tossing hundreds of thousands of young people into deportation proceedings, or he works with Republicans and Democrats to find a legislative solution that secures our border and ensures Dreamers continue contributing to our economy.”

DACA was rescinded by the Trump administration in March, but renewal applications for Dreamers have still been accepted following prior court orders.

The Justice Department issued a statement via spokesman Devin O’Malley in response to Judge Bates’ decision, saying, “Today’s order doesn’t change the Department of Justice’s position on the facts: DACA was implemented unilaterally after Congress declined to extend benefits to this same group of illegal aliens. As such, it is an unlawful circumvention of Congress.”

O’Malley continued: “The Department of Homeland Security therefore acted within its lawful authority in deciding to wind down DACA in an orderly manner…The Justice Department will continue to vigorously defend this position, and looks forward to vindicating its position in further litigation.”