US court order Trump administration to restore DACA to protect immigrants

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A United States federal judge has ordered the Trump administration to fully restore an Obama-era initiative that protects undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children from deportation.

While issuing the order on Friday December 4, 2020, the judge required officials to open the program to new applicants for the first time since 2017.

Judge Nicholas Garaufis of the U.S. District Court in Brooklyn instructed the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to post a public notice by Monday that states the department will accept and adjudicate Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) petitions from immigrants who qualify for the program but are not currently enrolled in it.

Garaufis also instructed officials to grant approved applicants work permits that last for two years, instead of the one-year period proposed by the Trump administration over the summer.

An estimated one million undocumented immigrants could benefit from Friday’s order, including approximately 300,000 teens and young adults who qualify for DACA on paper and could soon apply for the program, according to lawyers who sued the Trump administration.

“I was so excited. I didn’t know how to react. I’m thankful,” Larios, a member of the advocacy group Make the Road New York, said

She noted that she intends to request DACA soon. “I could go back to school, work. And to have that feeling of not being separated from my kids, that’s the most important thing for me right now.”

Chase Jennings, a DHS spokesperson, however, criticized Friday’s order but said the department would comply with it, pending an appeal.

“DHS wholly disagrees with this decision by yet another activist judge acting from his own policy preferences. Judge Garaufis’s latest decision, similar to his earlier inaccurate ruling, is clearly not sound law or logic,” Jennings said.

“We will abide by this decision while we work with (the Justice Department) on next steps to appeal,” he added.

Karen Tumlin, one of the lawyers representing DACA beneficiaries and prospective applicants, applauded Friday’s ruling and called on the government to halt “its attacks on immigrant youth today instead of continuing its losing courtroom battle during the last days of the administration.”

“Today’s ruling opens the door for more than one million immigrant youth who have been unfairly denied their chance to apply for DACA and secure their future in this country,” Tumlin, the director of the Justice Action Center, said.

“Our brave plaintiffs have said from the beginning of this lawsuit that their home is here, and the court rightly recognized that today,” he added.

While commenting about the ruling, Congressman Adam Schiff, stated it was good news after years of callous ruling from Donald Trump administration.

“Good news at a time when there is little to go around: A federal judge has ordered the Trump Administration to fully restore the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program to protect Dreamers.

“After years of cruel and callous attacks from the Trump Administration that left hundreds of thousands of Dreamers living in a constant state of uncertainty, these immigrants who came to the United States as children can breathe a sigh of relief,” Schiff wrote on his Facebook page.

He added, “Dreamers are Americans, and they belong here in the only country many of them have ever known. This is a victory for all Americans, too – reinforcing our legacy as a nation of opportunity that welcomes immigrants who come here seeking a better life for themselves and their children.

“Now it’s time to pass legislation and make sure Dreamers can become citizens – once and for all.”

Garaufis’ order follows another ruling he issued in November that found acting DHS secretary Chad Wolf did not have the legal authority to close DACA to new applicants or shorten the validity period of the work permits and protections from deportation that the program’s beneficiaries receive.

Garaufis reached this conclusion after determining that Wolf’s appointment violated the Homeland Security Act of 2002.

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