Judge who ordered full reinstatement of DACA halts decision on new applications

U.S. District Judge John D. Bates, who earlier this month ordered the full restoration of DACA - Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals - ruled Friday, Aug. 17, that the Trump administration must continue to process renewals, but does not have to accept new DACA or advance parole applications while the program's appeal process continues.

In its August 3 ruling ordering full restoration of DACAJudge Bates delayed its implementation for 20 days - until August 23 - to give the government an opportunity to appeal.

But the judge in a new decision, suspended its own order on the acceptance of new applications to avoid further complications explaining his reasoning as follows:

"The Court is mindful that the continuation of the stay in this case will temporarily deprive certain DACA-eligible individuals, and the plaintiffs in these cases, of the relief to which the Court has concluded they are legally entitled. But the Court is also mindful of the significant confusion and uncertainty currently surrounding the status of the DACA program, which is now the subject of litigation in multiple federal courts and courts of appeals. Because that confusion would only be magnified if the Court's order regarding the initial DACA applications were to take effect now and then be reversed on appeal, the Court will grant a limited stay of its order and preserve the status quo pending appeal, as plaintiffs themselves suggest."

Judge Bates is one of the federal judges presiding over one of four lawsuits aimed at maintaining or eliminating DACA, the program created by executive order of President Obama in 2012 and canceled by President Trump last year.

Judges in Washington, D.C., California and New York issued rulings ordering the government to continue processing DACA renewal applications. But all cases are still pending in the courts.

In May, Texas and seven other states filed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of DACA, which is now before U.S. District Judge Andrew S. Hanen, the same judge who in 2015 blocked the expansion of DACA and the implementation of DAPA - Deferred Action for Parental Accountability - which was intended to temporarily protect certain parents of U.S. citizens or permanent residents from deportation.

If Judge Hanen rules that DACA is unconstitutional, his decision will likely bring the case before the U.S. Supreme Court.