A U.S. District Court judge in the District of Columbia ruled Friday that the Obama-era program offering temporary protected status to a cohort of immigrants brought here illegally as children must remain in place despite efforts by the Trump administration to dismantle it, AOL reports.
Judge John D. Bates excoriated Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen’s arguments to end the program known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).
” … The Nielsen Memo offers nothing even remotely approaching a considered legal assessment that this Court could subject to judicial review,” Bates wrote. He added, later, “The Nielsen Memo demonstrates no true cognizance of the serious reliance interests at issue here — indeed, it does not even identify what those interests are … ”
However, he ruled that the administration could have until Aug. 23 to appeal the decision before the order to reanimate the program and allow new applications goes into effect.
“The Court did not hold in its prior opinion, and it does not hold today, that DHS lacks the statutory or constitutional authority to rescind the DACA program,” he wrote. “Rather, the Court simply holds that if DHS wishes to rescind the program ― or to take any other action, for that matter ― it must give a rational explanation for its decision.”
Bates ruled April 24 that the Trump administration has to honor the program and allow new applications, but he gave the administration 90 days to appeal with new arguments. Nielsen responded in a memo that mostly included arguments that Bates had already dismissed, the judge wrote.
The only new argument in the Trump administration’s tool box ― DACA sends the wrong message to potential immigrants who would take advantage of the program ― was rejected by the judge Friday.
“We are very pleased that the court today reaffirmed its ruling that the government’s termination of the DACA program ‘was unlawful and must be set aside,'” Princeton President Christopher L. Eisgruber said in a statement. “As the court noted, it ‘sees no reason to change its earlier determination that DACA’s rescission was arbitrary and capricious.'”
“We have always known that DACA is right and Trump’s decision to end it was wrong,” Greisa Martinez Rosas, a DACA beneficiary who’s deputy executive director of the group, said in a statement. “Tonight, Judge Bates reaffirmed those facts.”
“For DACA beneficiaries like me and my sisters,” she said, “the message is this: there are no changes to DACA, but if you are able to renew, now is the time to do it.”
Chris “Badger” Thomas is a Veteran who served our country as an Army Combat Medic.