Federal judge orders continuation of DACA and acceptance of new applications

U.S. District Judge John D. Bates, sitting in Washington, D.C., today issued a ruling ordering President Donald Trump's administration to continue DACA - Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.

The judge, in addition to ordering that renewals continue to be made for individuals who are currently or have previously been approved for the program, ruled that the government must also accept new applications, allowing eligible individuals to register for DACA for the first time.

The Judge Bates' decision is in response to a lawsuit filed by the NAACP and Trustees of Princeton University, among others.

In a 60-page document, Bates said the suspension of DACA was "arbitrary and capricious" because the government "failed to adequately explain its conclusion that the program was illegal."

According to the judge, who was appointed to the post by Republican President George W. Bush, "Neither the sparse legal reasoning nor the litigation risk assessment provided by DHS to support its rescission decision is sufficient to uphold the termination of the DACA program," so "the decision to rescind DACA will be reversed."


Judge Bates stipulated that his ruling will not go into effect for 90 days, giving the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) that time to provide a better explanation for its decision to eliminate DACA.

In his ruling, Judge Bates noted the urgency of expediting the DHS decision in this manner:

"Every day of agency delay is a day that an undocumented person, otherwise eligible for DACA benefits, is exposed to deportation for an illegal action."

If after 90 days the government does not present a valid justification, Judge Bates' decision would activate DACA for new applicants, such as people who previously did not qualify because they were under the required age. Also, they will be able to apply for advance parole.

Bates is the third judge to issue a favorable ruling for DACA recipients. California federal Judge William Alsup ordered the temporary restoration of DACA in January and New York federal Judge Nicholas Garaufis ruled that DACA could not come to an end on March 5, as ordered by President Trump, as legal challenges to the elimination of the program continue.


Judge Bates' decision is not yet effective. Individuals who have never previously filed DACA applications must wait until the 90 days have passed and it is confirmed whether the judge's decision stands.

Here in Immigration Today we will keep you informed.