Originally Published in Politico
Josh Gerstein - December 4, 2020
The Supreme Court had ruled in June that the Trump administration’s 2017 decision to wind down DACA was legally flawed.
A federal judge in New York has ordered the Trump administration to begin accepting new applications for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program — the Obama-era initiative that provides quasi-legal status to immigrants who entered the U.S. illegally as children.
U.S. District Court Judge Nicholas Garaufis issued an order Friday directing the Department of Homeland Security to announce by Monday that it is resuming the approval of new DACA applications and work permits. The judge also ordered DHS to return to its prior practice of granting and extending DACA status for two years at a time.
Garaufis’ order also instructs the administration to begin offering another benefit called advanced parole, which lets DACA recipients leave the country for a time without jeopardizing their status, and which was also effectively eliminated by the Trump administration.
“DHS is DIRECTED to post a public notice, within 3 calendar days of this Order, to be displayed prominently on its website and on the websites of all other relevant agencies, that it is accepting first-time requests for consideration of deferred action under DACA, renewal requests, and advance parole requests, based on the terms of the DACA program prior to September 5, 2017,” wrote Garaufis, an appointee of President Bill Clinton.
The Supreme Court ruled 5-4 in June that the Trump administration’s 2017 decision to wind down DACA was legally flawed. The ruling did not foreclose the possibility of President Donald Trump’s appointees ending the program, but faulted officials for failing to take account of relevant factors when seeking to shut down the program down three years ago.
The decision was expected to restore the program to its full scope, but a couple of weeks later, Wolf issued his order allowing renewals for a year at a time but refusing to allow new applications.
President-elect Joe Biden was expected to fully restore the DACA program, even in the absence of Garaufis’ order. However, DACA is still under legal pressure from a suit filed by Texas and other states who alleged that Obama lacked the legal authority to initiate the program in the first place.
“We are clear-eyed about the reality that Republican Attorneys General and the Trump Administration will again try to dismantle DACA through their ongoing litigation in Texas — and we need a legislative solution — but today’s order is an important victory for DACA recipients and the thousands of young dreamers who will now have access to this program,” said Todd Schulte, of immigration advocacy group FWD.us. “Today’s order could not be more clear and must be followed immediately, without delay.”
Chase Jennings, a DHS spokesperson said in a statement: “DHS wholly disagrees with this decision by yet another activist judge acting from his own policy preferences. Judge Garaufis’s latest decision, similar to his earlier inaccurate ruling, is clearly not sound law or logic. We will abide by this decision while we work with DOJ on next steps to appeal.”
New York Attorney General Letitia James hailed the ruling, saying in a statement: "Every time the outgoing administration tried to use young immigrants as political scapegoats, they defiled the values of our nation. The court’s order makes clear that fairness, inclusion, and compassion matter."
The ACLU said in a statement: "More than three years ago, the Trump administration attempted its fatal blow to the DACA program, but immigrant youth and the movement fought back and won. ... Tonight, we celebrate another victory. Dreamers, and DACA, are here to stay."