US court orders Trump to restore DACA scheme



Even before President Donald Trump officially steps out of the oval office, many of his signature rulings are being reversed by the US courts.

A New York court has ordered the Trump administration to immediately begin accepting new applications for an Obama-era program shielding undocumented immigrants who came to the US as children from deportation.

The Trump administration tried ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) in 2017, but the US Supreme Court blocked its attempt in June.

On Friday, December 4th, Judge Nicholas Garaufis of the US District Court in the Eastern District of New York Department of Homeland Security to extend the two-year renewals to DACA recipients and start accepting applications from first-time applicants beginning Monday.

DACA currently protects about 640,000 undocumented young immigrants, including about 5,000 South Asians.

As of July, an estimated 300,000 young people are eligible for the program and still waiting for a chance to apply. That includes 55,000 who have aged into eligibility over the last three years.

This means that the first time since September 2017, new applicants who were not previously eligible may now apply for the program which shield undocumented immigrants who came to the US as children from deportation.

Garaufis said, “The court believes that these additional remedies are reasonable,” and later confirmed the DHS would publicize the changes. “Indeed, the government has assured the court that a public notice along the lines described is forthcoming,” Garaufis added.

“Tonight, we celebrate another victory. Dreamers, and DACA, are here to stay,” said Madhuri Grewal, federal immigration policy counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union.

Grewal demanded that US President-elect Joe Biden must fulfill his commitment to introduce an immigration bill on day one to pursue permanent relief for immigrant communities.

Although the news was well-received by advocates for immigrants’ rights, many are wary of changes that could still be implemented before January 21, as states like Texas are seeking legal challenges to declare DACA unlawful. The Department of Justice could also appeal Friday’s decision.

President-elect Joe Biden has pledged to fully restore the DACA program within his first 100 days.

Karen Tumlin, a lawyer for the immigrants represented in Brooklyn, said, “This is a day that DACA recipients and young people have waited for, for far too long,” adding, “It’s a reminder, as always, that what we really need is a permanent solution.”

Simultaneously, the Biden administration can and must provide immediate relief to immigrant youth and their communities. After four years of relentless attacks by the current administration and decades of uncertainty, people deserve to live without fear, she said.

According to USCIS data, there are around current 640,000 DACA recipients; 800,000 have received DACA work permits within the last eight years, and currently, there are around 11 million undocumented people, of whom 3.6 million could be eligible for the DACA protections.