A federal judge ordered the Trump administration on Friday to restore the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which provides protection from deportation to many undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children.
A federal judge in New York ordered the Department of Homeland Security to post publicly on its website within three days that it is accepting new applicants and renewals to the DACA program, restoring the program to how it was before the Trump administration changed it in 2017.
President Donald Trump moved to end the DACA program in 2017, and it has been caught up in legal challenges ever since. This summer, the Supreme Court ruled that the Trump administration had wrongly ended the program, leaving it in place and keeping protections for existing Dreamers. Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf later restricted the program to only those already enrolled, disallowing new applicants, and changed the policy to require recipients to renew every year instead of every two years.
There were over 645,000 young immigrants who were recipients of the DACA program as of this June. Now up to 300,000 more immigrants could apply to the program under this ruling, reports The New York Times.
The DACA program, which was started under former President Barack Obama in 2012, allows qualified undocumented immigrants to live without threat of deportation and to legally work here. The permits must be renewed every two years.
The program still faces another challenge in an ongoing court case in Texas, where several Republican attorneys general are seeking to end the program, claiming it is unlawful.
President-elect Joe Biden says he intends to fully restore the program soon after he takes office. Immigrant advocates are hoping for a permanent legislative solution rather than leaving it up to presidential orders.
“Although this is a victory for immigrant youth, loved ones and allies who have fought every step of the way, DACA does not give us permanent protection from deportation,” Juliana Macedo do Nascimento, a DACA recipient and organizer with the immigrant group United We Dream, said in a statement. “Living from court to court ruling, on the whims of politicians or which way the wind is blowing, is cruel and dehumanizing.”
The immigrant group urged the Biden administration to not only protect young Dreamers but also the more than 11 million undocumented people living in the U.S., saying, “We won’t wait.”
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