A federal judge on Friday ordered the Trump administration to fully restore an Obama-era initiative to protect undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children as deportees and ordered officials to open the program to new applicants first.
Nicholas Garaufis, a judge in the U.S. District Court for Brooklyn, has instructed the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to issue a public announcement by Monday that the ministry will accept and adjudicate immigrants eligible for the program but is not currently enrolled.
Garaufis also instructed officials to issue approved applicants with two-year work permits instead of the one-year period proposed by the Trump administration in the summer.
An estimated one million undocumented immigrants could benefit from Friday’s order, including about 300,000 teenagers and young adultsand may soon apply to the program, according to attorneys suing the Trump administration.
Johana Larios wanted to leave her home to buy diapers for her two-year-old daughter when she found out about Friday’s order. The 26-year-old Mexican immigrant and Staten Island resident said the Trump administration suspended the DACA two days before he intended to apply.
“I was very excited. I didn’t know how to react. I’m grateful,” Larios, a member of the Make the Road New York advocacy group, told CBS News, noting that he wants to ask the DACA soon. “I could go back to school, work. And to keep that feeling from my kids, that’s the most important thing to me right now.”
Representatives of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, which oversees DHS and DACA applications, did not respond to comments. A spokesman for the Department of Justice, who may appeal Friday’s decision, also did not comment immediately.
Karen Tumlin, a lawyer representing DACA beneficiaries and prospective applicants, applauded Friday’s decision and called on the government to stop “its attacks on immigrant youth today, rather than continuing its loss-making courtroom battle in the final days of the administration.”
“Today’s decision opens the door to more than a million immigrant young people who have been unfairly denied the opportunity to apply for DACA and secure their future in this country,” Tumlin, director of the Justice Action Center, told CBS News. “Our brave plaintiffs have said from the beginning of this lawsuit that they have their home here, and this was rightly acknowledged by the court today.”
Garaufis’ order followsChad Wolf, DHS ‘s acting secretary, had no legal authority to close the DACA to new applicants or to shorten the period of validity of work permits and expulsion protection obtained by program beneficiaries. Garaufis came to this conclusion after finding that Wolf’s appointment violated the Homeland Security Act of 2002.
Other federal judges also raised questions about the legality of Wolf’s appointment – which was ruled invalid in August by the Congressional Investigation Office of the Congress. The results concluded that DHS did not properly follow the succession rules of the department leadership.
In September 2017, the Trump administration switched to liquidating the DACA, arguing that the program meant an oversupply of executive power. But the planned termination was suspended by several federal courts, and in June this year, the Supreme Court ruled that the administration had violated federal administrative law when it tried to end the program.
In July, Wolf issued a reminder outlining new guidelines for the DACA while the Trump administration considered trying to dismantle the program once again. On Friday, Garaufis set aside Wolf’s reminder, which included banning new applicants and restricting current protections and work permits.
Garaufis instructed DHS to require DACA administration under current guidelines when President Barack Obama established the program in 2012. This would also allow current enrollments to apply for “pre-trial release,” which will allow them to travel abroad and return to the United States. are called.
Prerequisites for DACA eligibility include no serious criminal record, coming to the United States before the age of 16, living in the country since at least 2007, and earning a U.S. high school diploma, GED, or serving honestly in the military. The DACA does not allow its beneficiaries to change their status and obtain a legal permanent residence permit.
President Trump has in some cases expressed sympathy for the “Dreamers,” but his administration has been fighting for years for a judicial battle to end the DACA and has not passed more bills on the road to U.S. citizenship.
President-elect Joe Biden has vowed to protect DACA beneficiaries from deportations and will present another proposal in Congress that will allow them to gain permanent legal status if adopted. Jennifer Molina, Mr. Biden’s transition spokesman, “did the right thing” for the Trump administration following the court order.
“On the first day, President-elect Biden will provide the Dreamers and their families with the opportunity to live their lives without fear and continue to contribute to our country,” Molina said in a statement to CBS News.
While Friday’s order represents a significant victory for DACA recipients and prospective petitioners, Republican-led states are currently asking U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen to declare the program illegal and end it. Hanen, the Republican-appointed person, prevented Mr. Obama from expanding the DACA in 2014, as well as creating another program that would have protected undocumented parents of U.S. green card holders and citizens from deportation.
Hanen scheduled a December 22 hearing.