Court Rules Against Trump Ending DACA
January 2, 2019
In 2012, Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano initiated the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, known as DACA. This policy was enacted by the Obama administration, and it applied to immigrants that had entered the country illegally as children. DACA gave protection from deportation and allowed work authorization for approximately 700,000 young adults, who are called “Dreamers.” It does not provide them with long lasting or permanent legal status, though; it has to be renewed every two years.
To apply for DACA, immigrants had to be age 30 or younger as of June 15, 2012; had to be in the U.S. before age 16; and must have lived in this country since June 15, 2007. There are additional requirements as well.
After President Trump was elected, his administration, and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), began focusing on illegal immigrants. One of their goals is to remove immigrants who may pose dangers to national security. They argued that DACA was unconstitutional, and in 2017, the Acting Secretary of Homeland Security, Elaine Duke, proposed that it be phased out by March of 2018. This would be accomplished by halting new DACA applications and introducing other restrictions, depending on when the person’s status expired.
DACA Advocates and Opponents
The phasing out of DACA was challenged by the University of California, whose representatives issued a statement advising Trump to not interfere with the program. They requested that Congress initiate permanent protections for the Dreamers.
Together with California, Maine, Maryland and Minnesota, the University brought a lawsuit against Trump’s plans to end DACA. Other groups protesting his actions include other colleges, religious leaders, business organizations, and immigration supporters.
On November 8, a California federal appeals court ruled that the Trump administration must not end DACA. Previously, in August, a Washington federal judge directed the administration to restore DACA; in February, a U.S. District Judge in Brooklyn issued a nationwide injunction to preserve DACA.
DACA May Head to the Supreme Court
There are numerous lawsuits that both support and challenge the Trump administration’s plan to end DACA. The nationwide injunction has been appealed. Legislation to extend DACA protections for immigrants was reviewed in Congress earlier this year, but it did not move forward.
There are several federal appeals underway between Trump’s administration, local governments, state governments, and immigrant advocacy groups. In addition, a federal judge in Washington in August ordered the administration to fully restore DACA, including the taking of new applications. This is pending appeal. It is also expected that the Justice Department will appeal the California ruling.
With so many cases being heard on this topic in courts across the nation, many are predicting that it will end up going to the Supreme Court. The President of the Conservative Federation for American Immigration Reform voiced his opinion that the case should take top priority for the Court.
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