On Tuesday, a federal judge ruled that the government must restart the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which provides protections for those who were brought into the country illegally by their parents before the age of 16, often referred to as “Dreamers.” The court order covers renewals as well as accepting new applicants.
Judge Nicholas G. Garaufis, a federal judge in New York, did state that the current administration does have the power to revoke the Obama-era policy, but said that they must provide a sound reason for taking such action.
Garaufis felt that the information provided by Homeland Security in September 2017 fell short of what is required to end DACA protections, according to a report by the Washington Times.
Part of Garaufis’ decision referenced tweets made by President Donald Trump, including one that claimed Trump could “revisit the issue,” which the judge considered as evidence that DACA was ended hastily.
Garaufis is not the first federal judge to rule that the phaseout of DACA wasn’t handled properly, but his decision is the most far-reaching. He was ordered that the government must allow current participants in the DACA program to renew their status as well as accept new applications.
“The question before the court is thus not whether defendants could end the DACA program, but whether they offered legally adequate reasons for doing so,” Garaufis wrote. “Based on its review of the record before it, the court concludes that defendants have not done so.”
Garaufis did assert that the Trump administration can attempt to end the DACA program in the future, as long as it provides sufficient evidence to prove sound reasoning.
The judge also confirmed that the government is not required to approve specific applications, just that the program must continue.
March 5 was identified by Trump as the phaseout date for DACA, a program that was created during the Obama administration and put in place by executive order in 2012. Trump has stated that the program is illegal, tasking Congress with coming up with a better solution, which has yet to be accomplished.
Approximately 700,000 Dreamers are currently protected by DACA, ensuring they won’t be deported.