US District Judge Nicholas G. Garaufis has ordered the immediate restoration of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program to how it was during the Barrack Obama administration. The policy is focused on migrants who were illegally brought into the United States when they were children. Adults and younger individuals who fall in this category are shielded from being deported when they apply under DACA, NPR reports.
The Donald Trump administration has however taken many steps to end the program or modify it. In 2017, the administration started legal proceedings to put an end to the program. The outcome of the 2017 legal battle came in June when the federal court stopped the administration from ending the program. The court also ordered the administration to start receiving new applications in July.
Some days after the July ruling, Acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf issued a statement that applicants would be given permits that would last for a year instead of the original two years. Wolf’s statement prompted a November ruling that the issuance of two years renewal permits should be reinstated. Judge Garaufis stated in the November ruling that Wolf did not have the authority to issue such statements as his appointment has not been approved by Congress.
Garaufis has ordered that the Department of Homeland Security should begin to receive first time applications from Monday and reinstate the program to the way it was during the former administration.
About 640,000 immigrants are being shielded from deportation through DACA with another 300,000 waiting their turn to apply to the program. New applicants have been unable to access the program during the years of the legal battle. The administration can appeal the federal court’s orders if it files a petition in a federal appellate court or the Supreme Court, Fox News writes.
The Supreme Court also ruled in June to stop the end of the DACA program stating that ending the program is in violation of the Administrative Procedure Act (APA). The APA Act stipulates the process of terminating policies of federal agencies such as the DHS. The 5-4 opinion added that eliminating the program would be “arbitrary and capricious” but the nation’s highest court did not add the benefits of the program as one of the reasons for its ruling.
The DACA program allows immigrants who have surpassed background checks and have gotten work permits to avoid being deported back to their home countries. President-elect Joe Biden had earlier stated that he would embark on making immigrants under the DACA program, citizens of the United States. Not much optimism is attached to Biden’s plans with the Republican-controlled senate.
Two senate runoffs in Georgia might, however, give Democrats the majority of the seats in Congress.