Judge Upholds Order for Trump Administration to Restore DACA

A federal judge on Friday upheld his previous order to revive an Obama-era program that shields some 700,000 young immigrants from deportation, saying that the Trump administration had failed to justify eliminating it.

Judge John D. Bates of the Federal District Court for the District of Columbia gave the government 20 days to appeal his decision. But his ruling could conflict with another decision on the program that a federal judge in Texas is expected to issue as early as next week.

The Trump administration announced late last year that it would phase out the program known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, which protects undocumented young adults from deportation and grants them two-year renewable work permits. The administration argued that President Barack Obama had overstepped his authority and circumvented Congress when he created the program in 2012.

The decision to end the program has faced numerous legal challenges. Currently, the government must continue accepting applications to renew DACA status, if not new applications from those who meet the criteria to qualify. DACA recipients — often called “Dreamers” — typically were brought to the United States illegally as children through no choice of their own.

Judge Bates ruled in late April that the administration must restore the DACA program and accept new applications. He had stayed his decision for 90 days to give the Department of Homeland Security, which runs the program, the opportunity to lay out its reasons for ending it.

Kirstjen Nielsen, the homeland security secretary, responded last month, arguing that DACA would likely be found unconstitutional in the Texas case and therefore must end. She relied heavily on the memorandum that her predecessor, Elaine C. Duke, had issued to rescind the program and said that the department had the discretion to end the program, just as the department under Mr. Obama had exercised discretion to create it.

By Miriam Jordan for THE NEW YORK TIMES
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