Judge: DACA to Stay, Trump's Evidence to Repeal - "Erroneous"

Ting Shen  ZUMA

At the core of the plaintiffs' case, brought by 17 state attorneys general and immigrants impacted by the administration's rescinding of the Obama-era program, is that the decision to end DACA was arbitrary and therefore illegal.

In a tweet Tuesday, Trump asserts that Democrats and Republicans must act now to provide legal protections to young "Dreamer" immigrants in the USA illegally. But the judge said the reasoning behind its decision was flawed.

Tuesday's ruling, combined with a ruling from a California judge last month, means the program could end up going beyond the March 5 date. The federal court judge said the White House could potentially repeal DACA, but that the evidence it provided in the case was "legally inadequate" to prove the program's unconstitutionality.

Under Tuesday's ruling, the government must accept renewal applications only from people previously approved for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, not from people who were eligible but never applied. "The court concludes that defendants have not done so". Chuck Schumer of NY, expressed opposition to Trump's proposal.

Judge Garaufis said that was not a compelling argument, and said DACA is neither unconstitutional nor illegal. "We don't want them in and right now we're working on DACA, we're working on immigration bills and we're making them tough", Trump said. But on January 9, US District Judge William Alsup in San Francisco ordered the administration to partially revive the program and resume accepting renewal applications, finding that the challengers who sued over the rescission were likely to succeed in arguing that it was "arbitrary and capricious".

In a rare procedural move, the Justice Department appealed Alsup's decision directly to the Supreme Court. Garaufis made clear in his order that he wasn't requiring the administration to grant any applications, only to process them under the terms in place before the rescission was announced. Despite acknowledging the court's own sympathies towards those who were unable to apply for the program before then, "it can not say that plaintiffs have demonstrated either that these individuals would be irreparably harmed without injunctive relief or that the balance of equities favors these individuals to the same extent it favors existing DACA beneficiaries".

Justice Department spokesperson Devin O'Malley said in a statement that the department would continue to "vigorously" defend the administration's decision to end DACA.

CBP and ICE are two of the three primary federal immigration agencies, part of the sprawling Department of Homeland Security. "Promoting and enforcing the rule of law is vital to protecting a nation, its borders, and its citizens".

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