Late on Tuesday, a federal judge in California issued an injunction blocking US President Donald Trump’s order winding down the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program put in place by his predecessor Barack Obama to protect undocumented immigrants who were brought into the US as children, CNN reported on Wednesday:
Judge William Alsup also said the administration must resume receiving DACA renewal applications. But the ruling is limited — the administration does not need to process applications for those who have never before received DACA protections, he said. …
The ruling came in a challenge to the Department of Homeland Security brought by the University of California and others. In his 49-page ruling, Alsup said “plaintiffs have shown that they are likely to succeed on the merits of their claim that the rescission was arbitrary and capricious” and must be set aside under the federal Administrative Procedures Act. The judge said a nationwide injunction was “appropriate” because “our country has a strong interest in the uniform application of immigration law and policy.”
The DACA program, which is based on the principle of prosecutorial discretion, was enacted in 2012 and has benefited some 800,000 individuals under 31 who arrived in the country before the age of 16, have lived in the US continuously since 2007, and are in school or have graduated. In total, up to 1.1 million so-called “dreamers” were eligible for the program, though not all who were eligible applied—potentially out of fear of “outing” themselves to the federal government as undocumented.
Trump, who campaigned on a pledge to drastically reduce legal and illegal immigration and to hasten the deportation of undocumented immigrants, ordered the DACA program canceled last September, giving Congress until March to find a legislative solution or the administration would begin phasing out its protections. Talks over a deal have stalled over disagreements between Democrats and Republicans over whether to pair it with funding for Trump’s proposed wall along the US-Mexico border. The Trump administration intends to fight Alsup’s injunction, but the court battle could drag on for years. The upshot, the Washington Post explains, is that DACA beneficiaries remain uncertain of their future status unless and until Congress acts.
Trump’s September order drew swift condemnation from business leaders, including high-profile tech sector CEOs like Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, Apple’s Tim Cook, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, Google’s Sundar Pichai, Hewlett Packard Enterprise’s Meg Whitman, Netflix’s Reed Hastings, and Microsoft’s Satya Nadella. Some companies, like Microsoft, also expressed a commitment to provide legal assistance to any DACA beneficiaries in their employ, should the government attempt to deport them. In October, over 100 HR leaders sent an open letter to Congress urging them to quickly legislate permanent protections for the “dreamers.”
Over 100 CEOs published another open letter to Congress on Wednesday, urging the leaders of both parties to vote on extending DACA by January 19, in order to give the Department of Homeland Security time to implement changes before the program expires on March 5, adding that “Delay or inaction will cause significant negative impact to businesses.”