For many “Dreamers,” the dream may still be alive. A federal judge on Tuesday ordered the Trump administration to continue accepting Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) applications. This is a significant blow to Trump’s administration as it continues its effort to eliminate the program.
U.S. District Judge John Bates, a George W. Bush appointee, became the third federal judge to not accept Trump’s explanation for ending the controversial program. Bates ruled that the decision by the Justice Department that DACA was unlawful was “virtually unexplained.”
Trump rescinded DACA in September, but gave Congress six months to pass legislation in its place.
The federal judge ordered the administration to continue DACA, which gives protections to immigrants brought to the U.S. as children. Bates went even further, ordering the administration to accept new applications, a first in the ongoing legal battles over the decision.
Bates did stay the ruling so that the administration has 90 days to come up with a better explanation for ending the program. Bates is the third judge to issue this kind of ruling on DACA, but the previous rulings have said that the program should be allowed to continue while litigation plays out.
Stephen Yale-Loehr, a professor of immigration law at Cornell Law School, said that Judge Bates’s ruling, if upheld on appeal, would “benefit tens of thousands of Dreamers.”
Hasan Shafiqullah, director of the immigration law unit of the Legal Aid Society of New York, said the ruling brings hope, especially for younger siblings of DACA recipients who, as of last September were ineligible to apply because they were too young.
Now, in just a matter of months, they might be able to submit a new application, Shafiqullah said, “and at last be able to come out of the shadows, register for DACA, and — like their older siblings — more fully integrate into the fabric of our society.”