A federal judge in California issued a nationwide injunction Tuesday ordering the Trump administration to reinstate a program that offers limited protection from deportation to as many as 800,000 young undocumented immigrants from deportation and which the president rescinded in September.
Judge William Alsup of Federal District Court in San Francisco wrote that the government must “maintain the DACA program on a nationwide basis” as the legal challenge to the president’s decision goes forward, the New York Times reported.
Implemented by President Barack Obama in 2012, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, also gave applicants the ability to work legally in the United States. President Trump said the program is unconstitutional and urged Congress to offer an alternative protection to undocumented immigrants who arrived in the country when they were children.
The decision sparked numerous lawsuits challenging the President’s decision. Democratic lawmakers have been scrambling to find a legislative solution that would protect the young immigrants while also garnering Republican support. DACA eligible immigrants are often referred to as “Dreamers,” for the so-called Dream Act, which many politicians believe may provide a permanent solution to the matter. But some hard-line conservatives say such legislation would provide amnesty for people who broke the law and some Republican legislators are demanding changes to current immigration policy before they support a Dream Act.
On Tuesday, president Trump held an hourlong, televised meeting with lawmakers from both parties, to begin negotiation on immigration reform.
Tuesday’s order states that DACA holders can renew their status in the program but that no new applicants have to be accepted. According to The Times, Judge Aslup argued that keeping DACA is in the public’s interest and cited Trump’s own Twitter posts, which expressed support for the program and Dreamers.
It is unclear what legal effect the injunction will have. A spokesman for the Justice Department tells the New York Times that the ruling will not change the administration’s decision to wind down DACA by March, and that the government is acting within its lawful authority. The government is expected to appeal the San Francisco judge’s injunction and the case could end up in the Supreme Court.
Some DACA advocates are saying that a legal extension of DACA, while immediately beneficial, may take pressure off from Republican legislators to support a Dream Act, delaying even further a permanent solution sought by Dreamers.
Photo above by Jackie Ramírez.