Immigration Law

A third federal judge rules against DACA phaseout, but goes further than two previous judges

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A third federal judge has ruled against the phaseout of a program protecting immigrants brought to the country illegally as minors, but he has gone further to protect the program than the two other judges.

Previous rulings required the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to accept applications for renewal of benefits under the program known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) while litigation is pending. U.S. District Judge John Bates of Washington, D.C., ruled Tuesday that the government must also accept new applications, though he postponed his ruling for 90 days, report the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post and Politico.

Bates said in his opinion that he was postponing his order to allow the Justice Department “an opportunity to better explain” its decision to wind down the program.

Bates ruled that the DACA phaseout was “arbitrary and capricious because the department failed adequately to explain its conclusion that the program was unlawful.”

The Trump administration had asked the U.S. Supreme Court to directly review an injunction issued by a previous judge, U.S. District Judge William Alsup of San Francisco. The Supreme Court denied the request in February.

Justice Department spokesman Devin O’Malley said in a statement that the agency will continue to “vigorously defend” its decision. “(Tuesday’s) order doesn’t change the Department of Justice’s position on the facts: DACA was implemented unilaterally after Congress declined to extend benefits to this same group of illegal aliens,” O’Malley said.

A fourth federal judge has ruled in favor of the government’s decision to end the program.

The cases before Bates are NAACP v. Trump and Princeton v. United States.

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