March 22, 2018

Second federal judge halts DACA termination

14 February 2018, 06:49 | Simon Arnold

Second judge blocks Trump from ending DACA

People protest for immigration reform that will allow DACA recipients a path to citizenry through the Dream Act which has been in legislative debate since 2011. Los Angeles Jan. 22 2018

U.S. District Judge Nicholas Garaufis in Brooklyn ruled that the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals programme, or DACA, can not end in March as the Republican administration had planned, a victory for Democratic state attorneys general and immigrants who sued the federal government.

A Brooklyn federal judge on Tuesday impeded President Donald Trump's decision to end a program that protects immigrants brought to the USA illegally as children from deportation, a ruling similar but more broad than a California judge's previous decision to keep the program last month.

Garaufis' ruling is the second such setback for the Trump administration after a federal judge in California ruled last month that DACA's legal protections must remain in place while the case is adjudicated.

"The question before the court is thus not whether defendants could end the DACA program, but whether they offered legally adequate reasons for doing so", wrote Judge Garaufis, a Clinton appointee to the court in NY.

The judge says Trump's administration relied on an "erroneous" belief the programme was unconstitutional. "The court concludes that defendants have not done so".

There are approximately 700,000 DACA beneficiaries, though the administration is not required to process new applications.

On Friday, the Supreme Court will consider whether to take on the issue.

Mr. Trump had set a March 5 phaseout data for the DACA program. As such, it was an unlawful circumvention of Congress. The DREAM Act - Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors - was legislation that offered numerous same protections as the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals administrative program but never passed Congress. Garaufis' decision was met with praise from Karen Tumlin of the National Immigration Law Center, who said, "Today's ruling shows that courts across the country agree that Trump's termination of DACA was not just immoral, but unlawful as well".

The judge said that the decision to end the program was based in part on the "plainly incorrect factual premise" that the program was illegal.

This ruling is rather unusual on several fronts.

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