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Court orders Trump Administration to restore DACA, reopen ‘Dreamers’ programme

DACA Protesters at the White House in Washington, D.C. Photo: File

*A Federal Judge orders outgoing US President Donald Trump administration to start taking new applications, and file reports on restart, saying government officials don’t ‘currently possess, nor have they ever possessed the powers’ to end the programme for 3.6 million  ‘Dreamers’ in the United States

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

For its failure to match its promise with action in re-establishing the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) programme in the last few years, a Federal Judge Friday, December 4, 2020, ordered the Donald Trump Administration to fully restore the programme that protects undocumented immigrants parents brought to the United States (US) as children.

ConsumerConnect gathered District Judge Nicholas Garaufis has directed the Department of Homeland Security to post a public notice by Monday (December 7) that it will accept petitions from new applicants for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals programme.

Although outgoing President Trump hitherto repeatedly promised to protect the so-called ‘Dreamers’, he has not taken any action to do so, but has pushed to end the programme that was put in place by his predecessor, President Barack Obama, in 2012, agency report said.

IT is recalled that in June 2020, the Supreme Court blocked the administration from ending the initiative.

But the following month, Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf sought to curtail DACA by cutting off new applicants and shortening the period of work permits and protections from two years to one.

Garaufis discussed the long history of the litigation over DACA at a hearing in August, saying, “this has remained unresolved and 700,000 plus people are directly affected.”

Last month, the judge ruled that Wolf wasn’t acting within his lawful authority when he closed DACA to new applicants because his appointment violated the Homeland Security Act of 2002.

The judge also said that Wolf’s partial reinstatement of DACA was invalid because it had been issued in the form of a memo from Wolf.

Garaufis, in his ruling Friday, said that Trump officials tried to circumvent his November court order.

The cases are Vidal v. Wolf, 16-cv-4756 and State of New York v. Trump, 17-cv-5228, US District Court, Eastern District of New York (Brooklyn).

He said: “Just hours after the court issued its opinion on November 14, Mr. Wolf once again attempted to ratify his prior actions as Acting Secretary on November 16.

“Of course, for the exact same reasons, those documents have no legal significance.”

The officials don’t “currently possess, nor have they ever possessed the powers” to end the programme, said the Federal Judge.

Garaufis as well ordered the government to produce a status report on the DACA programme to him by January 4, 2021, and said it must include the number of first-time DACA applications it’s received, adjudicated, approved, denied and rejected from November 14 to December 31, 2020.

The National Immigration Forum estimates that there are as many as 3.6 million Dreamers living in the US, many of whom didn’t apply for DACA or aged out of the programme after the administration stopped accepting new applicants in 2017.

However, there are more than 642,500 current DACA recipients, according to March 2020 data from the US Citizenship and Immigration Services, report stated.

Immigrants’ rights groups say that in 2018 and 2019, only 26,173 DACA applicants were approved.

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