Thanks to a ruling by federal court on Thursday, Nov. 8, President Donald Trump's attempt to end DACA is on hold for the second time this year. The decision from the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals upholds a previous ruling by a lower court that the decision to rescind the program was against the law. The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program offered protection from deportation for more than 700,000 young immigrants brought to the U.S. as children, known as "Dreamers."
In Thursday's decision, Judge Kim McLane Wardlaw ruled against the Trump administration's Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and called the decision to remove DACA "arbitrary, capricious, or otherwise not in accordance with law." A second judge reviewing the case, John Owens, found that the plaintiffs had support for their claim that race had motivated the DACA rescission, citing "a litany of statements by the president and high-ranking members of his administration that plausibly indicate animus toward undocumented immigrants." Elite Daily reached out to DHS and the White House for comment on the ruling, but did not immediately hear back.
"Today's decision is a tremendous victory for our young immigrant Dreamers and the rule of law," said California Attorney General Xavier Becerra in a statement Thursday.
Trump's decision to do away with the program, which he announced in September 2017, has faced numerous legal challenges.
The case had come before the appeals court following a preliminary injunction issued in January, in a legal challenge brought by attorneys general from California, Maine, Maryland, and Minnesota, as well as the regents of the University of California, against the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and President Trump.
"DACA is and will always be constitutional," wrote the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) on Twitter, responding to the court's ruling Thursday.
The Obama-era DACA program was a way to provide legal status to some 800,000 young undocumented immigrants who had been brought into the country as children. Under the program, young immigrants were protected from deportation and able to work and go to school. In September 2017, President Trump announced he was ending the program with a six-month delay, throwing Dreamers into legal limbo.
Challengers were awarded a preliminary injunction to the DACA rollback in January, giving beneficiaries temporary relief by ordering the DHS to continue processing renewal applications. A second injunction was issued in February. The January injunction, per Becerra's statement, has protected some 187,000 Dreamers from being stripped of their DACA protections, and enabled more eligible immigrants to regain or extend their own protections.
But Trump's team appeared to have anticipated a nay vote on the 9th Circuit case. The Trump administration earlier this week had preemptively issued a request to the Supreme Court to hear the case. The administration had used the same tactic earlier this year; in February, the Supreme Court rejected the request.
"The government may not simultaneously both assert that its actions are legally compelled, based on its interpretation of the law, and avoid review of that assertion by the judicial branch, whose 'province and duty' it is to say what the law is," Judge Wardlaw added in her ruling. In other words: DHS couldn't have its cake and eat it, too.
For the moment, anyways, it appears the Trump administration will have to keep fighting if it wants to bull ahead with the DACA rollback.
"This fight, of course, is far from over," Becerra added in his statement. "We will continue to defend Dreamers and DACA all the way to the Supreme Court if necessary."