We have previously blogged about the Deferred Action For Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program that was implemented in 2012 by an executive order signed by former President Barack Obama. DACA protects young, undocumented immigrants from deportation, and provides them with corresponding employment authorization. Around 800,000 individuals were granted deferred action under the program.
Many DACA recipients have lived most of their lives in the U.S., and graduated from college. Some were high school valedictorians. Many own homes, and are the parents of U.S.-born children, who are American citizens.
If you’re keeping up with the news, you must be aware that President Donald Trump, had previously selected March 5, 2018, as the deadline for Congress to work out a solution to prevent DACA recipients from facing deportation.
In the U.S. Congress, there were a series of votes that took place in February 2018, all of which did not come up with a solution acceptable to President Trump.
However, the temporary good news is that two separate federal court injunctions have halted the Trump administration’s rescission of the DACA program with the judges ordering the Department of Justice to maintain the current program as it was before President’s Trump’s announcement to end the program. In January 2018, the first federal judge, William Alsup in California, granted an application by California, the University of California system, and several California cities to block President Trump’s decision to end the DACA program while their lawsuit challenging the program’s termination plays out in court. Judge Alsup ruled that those already approved for protection and work permits must be allowed to renew them before they expire. He found the Trump administration’s decision to end DACA “arbitrary and capricious,” and that the Plaintiffs would be harmed in part through economic disruptions and the loss of revenue caused by their change in status.
In February 2018, a second federal judge, Nicholas Garaufis in New York, also ruled that the Trump Administration’s decision to rescind DACA is arbitrary and capricious. In his decision, Judge Garaufis noted that more than 100 DACA recipients a day had been losing their protected and all of the DACA recipients could face deportation. Employers would be hurt as DACA recipients lost their jobs, that could include up to $800 million in lost revenue.
The Trump administration filed a petition on January 18, 2018, with the U.S. Supreme Court to review Judge Alsup’s order, which the Supreme Court denied on February 23, 2018. The Supreme Court decided to allow the California case to run its normal course through the United States Court of appeals for the Ninth Circuit. “We tried to get it moved quickly because we’d like to help DACA,” President Trump said. “I think everybody in this room wants to help with DACA, but the Supreme Court just ruled it has to go through the normal channels.”
The Trump administration requested that the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals hold an expedited hearing concerning Judge Alsup’s ruling. Accordingly, a three-judge panel of the Court will hear arguments in May 2018.
Judge Stephen Reinhardt of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals (known as a liberal stalwart) passed away recently, at the age of 87, which will enable President Trump to fill yet another vacancy on the 9th Circuit. (As of today, the vacancy result from Judge Reinhardt’s death is one of eight vacancies on this appeals court).
If President Trump is successful in ‘reshaping’ the 9th Circuit, then DACA recipients have much to fear.
We will keep you posted about additional developments concerning DACA, on this blog.