Judge blocks Trump de­ci­sion to end DACA

Rul­ing: Pres­i­dent’s move was ‘ar­bi­trary and capri­cious’

The Arizona Republic - - Front Page - Daniel González Ari­zona Repub­lic USA TO­DAY NET­WORK

Young im­mi­grants soon fac­ing the loss of de­por­ta­tion pro­tec­tions and work per­mits are claim­ing vic­tory af­ter a fed­eral judge tem­po­rar­ily blocked the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion from end­ing a pro­gram that pro­tected hun­dreds of thou­sands of un­doc­u­mented im­mi­grants brought to the U.S. as chil­dren.

The rul­ing late Tues­day by U.S. District Judge Wil­liam Al­sup of the North­ern District of Cal­i­for­nia in San Fran­cisco or­dered the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion to re­sume al­low­ing so-called “dream­ers” to re­new their de­por­ta­tion pro­tec­tions and work per­mits un­der the pro­gram known as De­ferred Ac­tion for Child­hood Ar­rivals. The news came as bi­par­ti­san mem­bers of Congress and the White House inched closer to ham­mer­ing out a com­pro­mise so­lu­tion be­fore the pro­gram be­gins to be phased out on March 5.

While pleased that the pro­gram, which then-Pres­i­dent Barack Obama cre­ated in 2012, will be al­lowed to con­tinue, dream­ers now worry Congress will lose the ur­gency to pass leg­is­la­tion af­ter months of foot drag­ging.

“The mes­sage to Congress is this is a small vic­tory, but the ur­gency is still

there be­cause DACA pro­tected 800,000 dream­ers but there is still 2 mil­lion who could qual­ify for pro­tec­tion un­der the Dream Act,” said Ka­rina Ruiz, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the Ari­zona Dream Act Coali­tion, a group that is push­ing for a bill that would al­low 2 to 3 mil­lion dream­ers to ap­ply for per­ma­nent le­gal res­i­dency and even­tu­ally ci­ti­zen­ship.

Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump called the judge’s de­ci­sion “un­fair” in a tweet, and pre­dicted it would be over­turned by a higher court.

“It just shows ev­ery­one how bro­ken and un­fair our Court Sys­tem is when the op­pos­ing side in a case (such as DACA) al­ways runs to the 9th Cir­cuit and al­most al­ways wins be­fore be­ing re­versed by higher courts,” Trump said in a tweet.

White House Press Sec­re­tary Sarah San­ders called the de­ci­sion “out­ra­geous.”

“We find this de­ci­sion to be out­ra­geous, es­pe­cially in light of the Pres­i­dent’s suc­cess­ful bi­par­ti­san meet­ing with House and Se­nate mem­bers at the White House on the same day,” San­ders said in a writ­ten state­ment. “An is­sue of this mag­ni­tude must go through the nor­mal leg­isla­tive process. Pres­i­dent Trump is com­mit­ted to the rule of law, and will work with mem­bers of both par­ties to reach a per­ma­nent so­lu­tion that cor­rec­tions the un­con­sti­tu­tional ac­tions taken by the last ad­min­is­tra­tion.”

In his rul­ing, Judge Al­sup granted a re­quest by sev­eral plain­tiffs in­clud­ing Cal­i­for­nia, the Univer­sity of Cal­i­for­nia sys­tem, and sev­eral Cal­i­for­nia cities, to block the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion from phas­ing out DACA while their law­suit chal­leng­ing the ter­mi­na­tion plays out in court.

Al­sup or­dered that un­til a fi­nal judge­ment is reached, the pro­gram must con­tinue and those al­ready ap­proved for DACA pro­tec­tions and work per­mits must be al­lowed to re­new them be­fore they ex­pire.

Dream­ers who have never re­ceived DACA pro­tec­tions, how­ever, will not be al­lowed to ap­ply, Al­sup or­dered.

Al­sup said plain­tiffs were likely to suc­ceed on the le­gal mer­its of the law­suit claim­ing that the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion’s de­ci­sion to end the pro­gram was “ar­bi­trary and capri­cious” and based on a flawed le­gal premise.

Al­sup also agreed that the plain­tiffs would be harmed by the abrupt end of the DACA pro­gram — in part be­cause of the eco­nomic dis­rup­tions and loss of tax rev­enues that would be caused by their sud­den re­moval from the work­force.

Un­der the pro­gram, the Depart­ment of Home­land Se­cu­rity re­served the dis­cre­tion to de­port DACA re­cip­i­ents at any time, Al­sup pointed out.

“Nev­er­the­less, DACA has pro­vided re­cip­i­ents with a ma­jor ben­e­fit, namely work au­tho­riza­tions for a pe­riod of de­fer­ral upon a demon­stra­tion of eco­nomic need. This has al­lowed DACA re­cip­i­ents to be­come part of a main­stream work­force and con­trib­ute openly to our econ­omy,” Al­sup wrote.

On Sept. 5, At­tor­ney Gen­eral Jeff Ses­sions an­nounced that the DACA pro­gram would be phased out as of March 5, call­ing the pro­gram an il­le­gal cir­cum­ven­tion of im­mi­gra­tion law en­acted by Congress by the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion.

Trump then called on Congress to come up with a per­ma­nent so­lu­tion to pro­tect dream­ers by March 5. DACA re­cip­i­ents whose per­mits ex­pired be­fore March 5 were given un­til Oct. 5 to ap­ply for re­newal.

In all, about 800,000 dream­ers were ap­proved for DACA pro­tec­tions since the pro­gram started ac­cept­ing ap­pli­ca­tions in Au­gust 2012. But as of Sept. 5, about 689,800 dream­ers were en­rolled in the pro­gram, with all of them fac­ing the loss of DACA pro­tec­tions and work per­mits by the end of Septem­ber 2019, un­less Congress acts.

In a writ­ten state­ment, Depart­ment of Jus­tice spokesman Devin O’Mal­ley de­fended the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion’s de­ci­sion to end the pro­gram, re­it­er­at­ing that it was an “un­law­ful cir­cum­ven­tion of Congress.”

“The Jus­tice Depart­ment will con­tinue to vig­or­ously de­fend this po­si­tion, and looks for­ward to vin­di­cat­ing its po­si­tion in fur­ther lit­i­ga­tion,” O’Mal­ley said.

Dream­ers, mean­while, said they ex­pect the Jus­tice Depart­ment will quickly ap­peal Tues­day’s court or­der, fur­ther throw­ing their lives into tur­moil.

“The Court’s de­ci­sions is a pow­er­ful recog­ni­tion that the lives of un­doc­u­mented youth should not hang in limbo,” Erika An­di­ola, a dreamer with the Fight for Our Dream or­ga­ni­za­tion, said in a writ­ten state­ment.

She called on Congress to pass the Dream Act along with a spend­ing bill Congress must pass by Jan. 19 to avoid a gov­ern­ment shut­down.

“We need per­ma­nent pro­tec­tion, and we do not want to be at the whim of a back-and-forth le­gal strat­egy,” she said.

AP

Though pleased with Tues­day’s rul­ing, “dream­ers” now worry Congress will lose the ur­gency to pass leg­is­la­tion af­ter months of foot drag­ging.

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