The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program had another court date Wednesday in its long battle for survival during a four-year period in which it has been harshly attacked by President Donald Trump’s administration, which the judge warned cannot create its own laws while giving time to beneficiaries and the government to make arguments about restoring the measure.
Given the lack of consensus in Congress on immigration reform, the struggle continues around this program, created in 2012 by the Administration of then-President Barack Obama, which protects undocumented young people from deportation to study, work, drive and travel, and was repealed five years later by the current President Trump, starting a long battle that reached the Supreme Court.
The beneficiaries, represented by a group of lawyers and the organization Se Hace Camino, and the Trump Administration were convened today by federal judge Nicholas Garaufis to discuss the details of a decision he issued Saturday that invalidated the changes made by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to the program ignoring a Supreme Court decision issued last summer.
Garaufis determined that acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf took office illegally, invalidating the provisions of a memo that ordered DACA not to accept new applications, reduced the work permit renewal period for beneficiaries, known as “dreamers,” from two years to one year, and toughened the permits to leave the United States.
But it did not set a deadline for the government to implement its decision, which will impact at least 1.1 million “dreamers.
In a hearing that lasted about an hour, the federal judge warned the Justice Department on Wednesday that it has the right to have an opinion but is not authorized to create its own laws, and gave the defence of the beneficiaries until November 24 to present its motion on the restoration of benefits that the government should implement.
The Government, in turn, will have until December 1 to respond, after which Garaufis will make a decision.
According to the magistrate, the DHS executive order was made to please Trump. He also made it clear that the court will not allow the government to further delay compliance with the Supreme Court decision that ruled last June that it was illegal to repeal DACA.
The judge, from the federal court for the Eastern District of New York, also referred to the Trump Administration’s attacks on DACA as “a sad and inappropriate use of alleged executive authority to deny DACA beneficiaries and those who are eligible the ability to exercise their rights.
After Trump repealed DACA, several DACA grantees and the organization Make the Road New York challenged the decision in federal court. The case was assigned to Judge Garaufis and then went to the Supreme Court.
The DHS asked for a deadline of December 18 to respond to the plaintiffs’ arguments, but the judge refuted this by saying that this case has been delayed for a long time “and it is only fair that these people who depend on this should be able to close this chapter.