A federal judge ordered the Trump administration on Friday to accept new applications to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.
Originally implemented by President Obama, DACA authorizes employment for illegal immigrants brought to the U.S. as children, and shields them from deportation provided they continue to renew their status every two years. The program has allowed roughly 700,000 immigrants to remain in the U.S. but does not provide a path to citizenship.
The Trump administration attempted to end DACA, however the effort was stopped in July by the Supreme Court, which ruled 5–4 that the administration violated the Administrative Procedure Act in attempting to halt the program. The Court did not rule on the legality of DACA itself.
Shortly following the decision, the Department of Homeland Security ceased new applications to the program and mandated that all DACA participants (known as “dreamers”) renew their status every year instead of two years.
On Friday, Judge Nicholas Garaufis of the Eastern District of New York ordered the Trump administration to accept new applicants and increase the renewal period to the original two years, vacating a DHS order by acting Homeland Security secretary Chad Wolf. Around 300,000 people could now be eligible to apply to DACA, according to lawyers working on the case.
“Dreamers have fought so hard for justice. For the second time, a court has ordered the administration to resume processing DACA applications. It’s time to do the right thing,” Jennifer Molina, a spokesperson for incoming president Joe Biden’s transition team, told the Associated Press. “On day one, President-elect Biden will ensure Dreamers and their families have the opportunity to live their lives free of fear and continue to contribute to our country.”
The order follows a November ruling by Garaufis in which he deemed Wolf’s appointment as acting head of DHS illegal.