A federal judge ordered the Trump administration on Friday to fully restore an Obama-era program aimed at protecting young undocumented immigrants from deportations, addressing what could be a final blow to President Trump’s long-standing efforts to end the defense. .
The Deferred Action Program, known as Childhood Arrivals, was created in 2012 by President Barack Obama. Over the years, it has protected more than 800,000 people who have been called “dreamers” and who have met strict eligibility requirements.
Nicholas G. Garaufis, a judge in the U.S. District Court for Brooklyn, instructed the administration to file new applications for protection for newly eligible immigrants under the program, reversing a memorandum issued by Chad Wolf, the Secretary of Homeland Security in the summer, that limited the program for enrolled people. Lawyers advocating reinstatement say 300,000 new applicants may now be eligible.
A reminder from the Department of Homeland Security also limited the benefits of the program, including work permits, to one year, but the judge on Friday ordered the government to restore them for a full two years. Judge Garaufis, appointed by President Bill Clinton, also said the government needs to find a way to contact all immigrants who are eligible for the program to inform them of the change.
The program still faces other challenges, including in the Texas Federal Court case, where Republican attorneys-general have asked a judge to declare the program illegal.
President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. has promised to reinstate the DACA program when he takes office next month, but a legislative solution that will permanently allow dreamers to live and work legally in the United States, their fate in a changing world, remains elusive. political winds.
Nevertheless, the decision represents a significant legal disadvantage against Mr. Trump’s promise of years of attempts to recoup his promise to end the program for undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States as children and lived in America for most of their lives. .
As a candidate, Mr. Trump insisted that the program introduced by Mr. Obama through an implementing measure be unconstitutional and, as President, ended it in September 2017. The legal battle against the program culminated in a Supreme Court ruling. this summer, in which judges said the president had not followed the proper procedures to complete the program.
Following this decision, Mr. Wolf only partially reinstated the program, refused to allow new immigrants to apply, and reduced the duration of renewals to one year instead of the two years previously allowed in the program.
In November, Judge Garaufis ruled that the partial reinstatement was invalid because it had been issued in the form of a reminder by Mr. Wolf, whom Judge Garaufis had found to have been illegally appointed to his post. On Friday, after hearing both sides, the judge said the agency should announce the news of the full reinstatement on its website by Monday.
“This is a really big day for DACA beneficiaries and immigrant youth,” said Karen Tumlin, director of the Judicial Action Center, who has been suing. “This opens the door for more than a million young immigrants who have been unfairly denied the opportunity to apply to the DACA.”
The Trump administration did not respond immediately to the request for comment.
Adam Liptak contributed to the report.