Federal judge in Maryland rules that DACA cancellation is legal

Federal Judge Roger W. Titus in Maryland ruled that President Trump had the authority to dismantle DACA - Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals - when he announced the elimination of the program in September 2017.

In his ruling in response to a lawsuit filed by the organization Casa de Maryland on behalf of several immigrants, Judge Titus indicated that the President's cancellation of DACA is lawful and that only Congress can change immigration laws. He defended the gradual dismantling of the program, saying that defunding DACA "in an orderly fashion was rational."

The judge explained the reasoning of its decision in a 30-page document filed on Monday, March 5, 2018. He concluded his decision by noting:

"The outcome of this case is not what this Court would choose if it were a member of a different branch of our government. An overwhelming percentage of Americans support protecting "Dreamers," however, it is not the judiciary's place to provide legislative or executive action when those charged with those responsibilities fail to act. As Judge Gorsuch noted during his confirmation hearing, "a judge who likes every result he reaches is probably a pretty bad judge, stretching for the policy outcomes he prefers rather than the ones the law compels."

This Court does not like the outcome of this case, but it is constrained by its constitutionally limited role to the result it has reached. Hopefully, Congress and the President will eventually do their jobs."

Judge Titus decision does not stop DACA reactivation

Judge Titus' decision does not affect the reactivation of the program or the renewal of work permits for DACA enrollees ordered by two other federal judges - Judge William Alsup of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California on January 9 and Judge Nicholas Garaufis of New York on February 13.

The three judges' rulings were in response to lawsuits against the government following the cancellation of DACA. Contrary to the Maryland judge, the California and New York judges ruled that the government acted "arbitrarily" in eliminating the program.

DACA renewals will continue while the litigation is being resolved in the courts.

Protection of DACA recipients' information

The judge affirmed that the government cannot use personal information that DACA recipients provided when they enrolled in the program to remove them from the country, as it could cause them "irreparable harm" and be considered an act of "affirmative misconduct" by government authorities.

However, he indicated that should the government need to make use of such information for national security or public interest purposes, it will have to seek a court order for each individual case.