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Second Federal Judge Rules to Keep DACA In Place

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In yet another setback for the Trump administration’s attempts to shutter the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), Judge Nicholas G. Garaufis of Federal District Court in Brooklyn issued a nationwide injunction on Tuesday, temporarily blocking the President’s move to terminate the controversial immigration program.

DACA is an Obama administration program that protects undocumented immigrants who entered the U.S. as minors from immediate deportation. Under DACA, qualifying immigrants can seek legal employment in the country through renewable special work permits—each permit comes with a two-year validity and also allows recipients to apply for a driver’s license.

In September last year, President Trump last announced that he would finally end DACA on the grounds that, in creating the program, Obama had overstepped the power of his office. He did, however, place a 6-month delay for the program’s termination to take effect, which he said should give Congress enough time to draft a replacement program that is both constitutional and legislation-based.

Congress has until March 5 to come up with a bipartisan deal.

DACA Extension Likely

By ruling to keep DACA in place, Judge Garaufis’s decision could very well lead to an extension of the deadline, allowing DACA beneficiaries to retain their status past the March 5 deadline.

This extension does not, however, apply to immigrants who were never under the program.

In his ruling, Judge Garaufis said that while the administration is within its authority to terminate DACA, the question before the court is not whether the administration could do such a thing, but whether they were able to offer legally adequate reasons to do so. Based on the court’s review of the case, Garaufis said the Trump administration had failed to provide legal justification for its actions.

Garaufisfurther challenged Trump’s claims that the program is illegal, stating that they are based on a “plainly incorrect factual premise.”

Karen Tumlin, Legal Director of the National Immigration Law Center, celebrated the ruling, which he said shows that courts across the country agree that ending DACA is not just immoral, but also illegal.

Second Court Ruling Against DACA Termination

Garaufis’s is the second federal judge to rule against DACA’s termination. Last month, Judge William Alsup of Federal District Court in San Francisco likewise blocked the administration from rescinding the program and demanded that it resume receiving DACA renewal applications.

The Department of Justice continues to back the administration, arguing that when it decided to end the DACA, it was within its lawful authority to do so.

The Justice Department issued a statement reiterating the White House’s stance that DACA was implemented after Congress had declined to extend immigration benefits to undocumented immigrants who entered the country as children. As such, President Obama’s executive order was an unlawful circumvention of Congress. The Justice Department added that the Trump administration was simply promoting and enforcing the rule of law.

If you are a DACA recipient based in the Greater Austin Area, you can learn about your rights and options should Congress fail to come up with a replacement program for DACA by sitting down for a consultation with the legal team of the Lyttle Law Firm. Call our offices today to talk to Austin immigration attorney Daniella Lyttle.