DACA is back up and running, Homeland Security announced this weekend, saying President Trump’s attempt to phase out the Obama-era deportation amnesty is on hold while they fight a court case that ordered them to begin accepting applications again.
Only those among the 800,000 or so previously approved can submit applications for renewal, under the judger’s order. And those covered by DACA will no longer be granted advance parole, which had become a shortcut pathway to citizenship in the Obama administration.
But U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services said it will otherwise restore DACA as it was on Sept. 5, before Mr. Trump decided on a six-month phaseout, saying the program was illegal.
The move could lessen the pressure on Congress, which is facing a Democratic-led shutdown showdown later this week over the issue. Democrats had insisted that the new spending bill, due by Friday, must also grant full legal status to illegal immigrant “Dreamers,” many of whom have been protected by the DACA program.
Now that those DACA folks can regain their protections and permission to work in the U.S., there’s less actual urgency. But activist groups said they’ll still demand a solution this week.
“Trump killed DACA and this latest back and forth on doesn’t change that. The fact remains that immigrant youth are either living in danger and policymakers must deliver the permanent protection of the Dream Act by January 19th,” Greisa Martinez Rosas, advocacy director for United We Dream, said in a statement.
Judge William Alsup, in a stunning ruling earlier this month, said Mr. Trump cut legal corners in announcing the phaseout of the 2012 DACA program. The judge reached back to Mr. Trump’s campaign comments about migrants from Mexico to conclude the president had racial animus toward Hispanics, and so the decision — even though it was made officially by the Homeland Security Department and not the president — was illegal.
Judge Alsup, a Clinton appointee to the bench, also ruled DACA itself likely legal, marking the first time a court has reached that conclusion.
The ruling flies in the face of a decision several years back by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit, which ruled a similar 2014 deportation amnesty illegal based largely on the operations of DACA. That court didn’t actually rule DACA illegal, though, because DACA wasn’t specifically challenged in that case.
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