Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Court Orders Trump Administration to Accept New DACA Applications -- Ruling Stayed for 90 Days

Going beyond the injunctions entered by other district courts, Judge John D. Bates (D.D.C.) held in this ruling that the Trump administration must accept new Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) applications as well as requests for reauthorization:

"the Court concludes that it has both jurisdiction and statutory authority to hear plaintiffs’ [Administrative Procedure Act] and constitutional claims. The Court further concludes that, under the APA, DACA’s rescission was arbitrary and capricious because the Department [of Homeland Security (DHS)] failed adequately to explain its conclusion that the program was unlawful. Neither the meager legal reasoning nor the assessment of litigation risk provided by DHS to support its rescission decision is sufficient to sustain termination of the DACA program. Thus, plaintiffs’ motion for summary judgment will be granted in part, and the decision to rescind DACA will be vacated and remanded to DHS. Vacatur of DACA’s rescission will mean that DHS must accept and process new as well as renewal DACA applications. The Court will stay its order of vacatur for ninety days, however, to allow the agency an opportunity to better explain its rescission decision."

The reasoning is summarized here:

"Here, the Department’s decision to rescind DACA was predicated primarily on its legal judgment that the program was unlawful. That legal judgment was virtually unexplained, however, and so it cannot support the agency’s decision. And although the government suggests that DACA’s rescission was also predicated on the Department’s assessment of litigation risk, this consideration is insufficiently distinct from the agency’s legal judgment to alter the reviewability analysis. It was also arbitrary and capricious in its own right, and thus likewise cannot support the agency’s action. For these reasons, DACA’s rescission was unlawful and must be set aside." 

The court "stay[ed] stay its order of vacatur for 90 days . . . to afford DHS an opportunity to better explain its view that DACA is unlawful."

For more on the ruling, click here.  Judge Bates was appointed to the federal bench by President George W. Bush.


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