A federal judge in San Francisco temporarily blocked the Trump administration from ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program that prevents the deportation of children brought into the U.S. by their undocumented parents.
In his ruling, Judge William Alsup stated that “the government is hereby ordered and enjoined, pending final judgment herein or other order, to maintain the Daca programm on a nationwide basis on the same terms and conditions as were in effect before the rescission.”
“I am still shaking,” said Jirayut “New” Latthivongskorn, one of the handful of Dreamers named as plaintiffs in the case,
Latthivongskorn, now 28, came to San Francisco with his parents from Thailand when he was 9. His family struggled to obtain citizenship and was scammed by a lawyer, he said, obscuring their path to legal status. He is now a medical student at UC San Francisco and completing a dual master’s program at Harvard University.
“The key part of this is that we don’t let this ruling be seen in a way as an excuse for Congress not to act,” he told the L.A. Times. “There is no less of an urgency to pass a legislative solution.”
District Judge Alsup said the justice department’s argument that the scheme was illegal was based on a “flawed legal premise”.
He ordered the government to process renewal applications from people who had previously been covered.
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However, this would not be the case for those who had never before received protection under the Deferred Action by Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
“Alsup said lawyers in favor of DACA clearly demonstrated that the young immigrants “were likely to suffer serious, irreparable harm” without court action. The judge also said the lawyers have a strong chance of succeeding at trial.
“Alsup considered five separate lawsuits filed in Northern California, including one by California and three other states, and another by the governing board of the University of California school system.
DACA covers a class of immigrants whose presence, seemingly all agree, pose the least, if any, threat and allows them to sign up for honest labor on the condition of continued good behavior.”
California Attorney General Becerra, who also filed a suit against the Trump order, said in a statement after Tuesday’s decision:
“Dreamers lives were thrown into chaos when the Trump Administration tried to terminate the DACA program without obeying the law. Tonight’s ruling is a huge step in the right direction.”
Trump announced his intention to end the DACA program in September, leaving it to Congress to come up with a solution on what to do with the 800,000 Dreamers who have already signed up for the program.
Thus far, the GOP-dominated Congress has failed to come up with any legislation regarding DACA.
Trump said that any solution to the DACA situation must also be tied to funding the wall between the U.S. and Mexico that he promised his supporters. Democrats have been against constructing the wall insisting that a clean DACA program be created before any discussion on border security.
Judge Alsup wrote in his decision: “This has become an important program for DACA recipients and their families, for the employers who hire them, for our tax treasuries, and for our economy.”