Court Blocks DACA Termination

January 22, 2018 3:50 pm
by David Jakeman

Coming hot on the heels of President Trump’s unusually open negotiation session with members of Congress about immigration reform was the announcement by a California judge that the September 2017 decision to wind down DACA was legally improper. What this means for permanent legislative reform is hard to know at this point, but Portland immigration lawyers and others observers are following the developments closely.

DACA Extended Past March

The court ruling means that there is no longer a firm deadline of March 5, 2018 for the end of DACA. When the Trump administration made its decision to wind down DACA, it gave a six month window to recipients after which their legal status would start expiring. The court ruling means that those in danger of having their status expire can now renew for another two years.
The court ruling does not, however, allow for any new applications to be submitted. Only people who already have DACA can renew their status. The court ruling also said that the government could prevent DACA recipients from returning to the US if they leave the country.

Legal Wrangling over DACA

Lawmakers on Capitol Hill insist that the court ruling reinstating DACA will not change their commitment to getting a legislative fix passed this year. However, other members of Congress voiced skepticism that they could continue their momentum without the hard deadline looming.

This lawsuit has already been a strange one. In fall 2017, the judge overseeing the case ordered the Trump administration to turn over internal documents related to the decision to end DACA. The order was successfully appealed, with the Supreme Court siding with the Trump administration. In the appeal, the judge who made the initial decision submitted a brief in his defense, which is highly unusual.

The Trump administration is likely to appeal the decision, and there is a good chance the Supreme Court will rule in its favor, especially since it already ruled on DAPA, which was similar to DACA. The DAPA ruling ended as a tie, allowing the lower court’s decision that DAPA was unlawful to stand. If the DACA ruling is successfully appealed, and if no legislative fix has been put into place, DACA beneficiaries could find that their legal status evaporates overnight. That would be a terrible outcome. They’ve lived in limbo long enough. It’s high time for a permanent solution.

Some DACA recipients have found that they are actually eligible for other forms of immigration relief, allowing them to bypass the suspense of a politically unstable status. An immigration
lawyer in Portland or elsewhere can help you understand what your options are.

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