Recently, the Ninth Circuit upheld a nationwide injunction, keeping the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program alive. In September 2017, the Trump administration announced that it was ending the program gradually, over the course of six months, which prompted protests and legal challenges.
In 2012, the DACA program was implemented by then-President Barack Obama’s executive order. As many as 800,000 young immigrants who came to the U.S. without authorization as children are currently covered under the program. Although the program does not provide a pathway to citizenship, it does allow those who qualify to remain “lawfully present” in the U.S. and apply for work permits and a driver’s license.
In moving to rescind the DACA program, the Trump administration asserted that putting the program in place was an overreach of former President Obama’s executive authority. The Trump administration claimed that the program lacked legal efficiencies, similar to the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (DAPA) program that was struck down by a Texas court in February 2015. The ruling to end DAPA was affirmed by the Fifth Circuit.
On November 8, in a 99-page opinion, the Ninth’s Circuit rejected the Trump administration’s arguments that the order was not reviewable under the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) and the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). The three-judge panel also found that DACA recipients are likely to succeed on their claims that the government’s termination of the program was “arbitrary and capricious,” as well as their constitutional equal protection claims.
The Ninth Circuit is the first appeals court to rule on the legality of the DACA program. The court’s decision upholds a preliminary injunction filed from U.S. District Judge William Alsup of the Northern District of California, who blocked the Trump administration’s decision to rescind the DACA program.
The decision comes days after the Department of Justice petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to rule on the fate of DACA recipients. With the Ninth Circuit’s recent DACA decision, it is widely expected that the Supreme Court will eventually rule on a DACA matter in some form.
If you or a loved one is a DACA recipient and concerned about your status or theirs, it is important to consult the guidance of an experienced New York immigration lawyer who will inform you of your legal rights and available pathways to citizenship. The lawyers at Bretz & Coven, LLP are experienced in handling various immigration matters, including those that relate to DACA. For more information or to schedule a consultation at our New York City or New Jersey law office, call (212) 267-2555.