A federal judge ordered the Trump administration to completely restart DACA in the largest setback to the planned phase-out of the Obama-initiated program.
The ruling is the most extreme position taken by the courts against President Trump’s dismantling of the controversial program. Federal District Judge John Bates of the D.C. District Court ruled that the program must be completely restarted including the acceptance of new illegal immigrants into the program. Other judges in Brooklyn and San Francisco had only ordered that renewal applications for existing DACA recipients be processed.
Judge Bates, a Bush appointee, put a 90-day stay on his order to give the government time to make its case.
In his 60-page ruling, Bates said that the government had terminated DACA in a manner that was “arbitrary and capricious” making the order illegal under the Administrative Procedures Act.
“The Department’s decision to rescind DACA was predicated primarily on its legal judgment that the program was unlawful. That legal judgment was virtually unexplained, however, and so it cannot support the agency’s decision,” he wrote. “It was also arbitrary and capricious in its own right, and thus likewise cannot support the agency’s action. For these reasons, DACA’s rescission was unlawful and must be set aside.”
The Trump administration has had victories in court that supported the decision to end DACA. Federal Judge Roger Titus, also a Bush appointee, ruled in March that it was proper for the executive branch to have Congress properly determine immigration policy.
“This decision took control of a pell-mell situation and provided Congress — the branch of government charged with determining immigration policy — an opportunity to remedy it. Given the reasonable belief that DACA was unlawful, the decision to wind down DACA in an orderly manner was rational,” Titus wrote.
The Justice Department said that it would “vigorously defend” its decision to end the DACA program in a statement Tuesday night. The White House had not commented as of the publication of this article.