Immigration Law

4th Circuit rules rescission of DACA was arbitrary and capricious

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A second federal appeals court has rejected the federal government’s rescission of a program that defers deportation for immigrants brought to the country illegally as minors.

The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals at Richmond, Virginia, ruled 2-1 Friday that the 2017 rescission of the program was arbitrary and capricious, report Bloomberg, the Hill and the National Law Journal.

The 4th Circuit decision follows a November ruling by the 9th Circuit at San Francisco, which also found that phaseout of the program was arbitrary and capricious.

The 2012 program, known as DACA, is Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. The program deferred deportation for immigrants and allowed them to obtain work permits. Immigrants in the program had to have clean criminal records and meet other educational or military service requirements.

Circuit Judge Albert Diaz wrote the majority opinion for the 4th Circuit. He said the government’s decision to rescind DACA didn’t require notice and comment, but it nonetheless violated the Administrative Procedure Act.

The Department of Homeland Security failed to give a reasoned explanation for the change in policy, making it arbitrary and capricious under the APA, Diaz said.

A “reasoned analysis” had supported implementation of DACA, yet the department “changed course without any explanation for why that analysis was faulty,” Diaz said.

“Nor did the department adequately account for the reliance interests that would be affected by its decision,” Diaz wrote. “Hundreds of thousands of people had structured their lives on the availability of deferred action during the over five years between the implementation of DACA and the decision to rescind.”

A dissenting judge said the decision to revoke DACA could not be reviewed by the courts under the Administrative Procedure Act.

The case is Casa de Maryland v. Department of Homeland Security.

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