Federal Courts Keeping DACA Alive

Federal Courts Keeping DACA Alive

If you’re involved in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, there’s been some good legal news recently for those in Kentucky and across the U.S. The program allows some undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children to stay in the county and work. DACA was started by the Obama administration after Congress failed to act on immigration reform. It’s been the subject of legal challenges since it started, with some successes and defeats in various courts.

A federal judge in Washington, DC, ruled in early August that the current administration must fully restore the DACA program, which it has tried to stop, stating that the government’s reasoning for ending the program is inadequate. U.S. District Judge John Bates ordered a stop to the administration’s efforts to end DACA, according to NPR. This is the third such order by a federal district court.

Part of the administration’s anti-immigration campaign to the White House was to put an end to DACA, which some Republicans claim President Obama lacked legal authority to create. A year ago, the White House revealed plans to stop DACA. Since then the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) stopped taking new applications or processing renewals.

Judge Bates also denied a motion by DHS to end a prior decision where he ruled the administration’s reasons for ending DACA were “arbitrary and capricious.” When a government action is challenged in court, the lowest standard it must meet to defend its actions are to show there are facts, logic and reason behind the move. If the government can’t show there’s a good reason for its acts, it may be successfully stopped by a judge.

Judge Bates decided in April to restart DACA within 90 days, giving DHS attorneys a chance to better explain that DACA is illegal and can be stopped. Last month he decided the government’s legal justifications were “inadequately explained.” Though Judge Bates didn’t close the door to DACA’s being lawfully ended in the future, he found the government couldn’t give a sound legal justification for doing so.

Federal district court judges in California and New York have also ruled against the Trump administration. They ruled that how DACA was stopped violated federal law governing how government agencies need to act and make decisions.

Nine states are also involved in legal action trying to stop DACA. In late August, a federal judge in Texas ruled against the plaintiffs. Judge Andrew Hanen ruled that they failed to provide enough evidence to justify creating a court order mandating DHS to immediately stop accepting new DACA applications and prevent renewals of current grants of deferred action pending resolution of the lawsuit.

Potentially, the Texas case could proceed to trial where the nine states could be able to put on their case. The decision in Washington, DC, could be appealed by the federal government.

If you or a loved one lives in Fayette County, Kentucky, or the surrounding area, and you have questions about DACA in particular or immigration law in general or need representation in an immigration matter, Carman & Fullerton can help you, whether you speak English, Spanish or another language. Your future and that of your family is at stake, so contact us today.