As you probably know, the Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals (DACA) set up during the Obama administration is an extralegal policy intended to keep a certain class of illegals from being deported. I say extralegal because it was established outside Congressional action and it is of dubious legality. That said, the program exists as the political debate on how to handle this contentious issue progresses. The Trump administration, while keeping the protections in place for existing enrollees, had decided to stop accepting any further enrollees.
Last week a federal district judge in San Francisco ruled that this was illegal.
In his ruling, Judge Alsup questioned the administration’s contention that the DACA program had not been put into place legally. He asserted that the secretary of the Department of Homeland Security has long had the authority to grant the kind of temporary protections that formed the basis of the program.
Judge Alsup also cited several of Mr. Trump’s Twitter posts that expressed support for the program. He noted that in September, the president wrote: “Does anybody really want to throw out good, educated and accomplished young people who have jobs, some serving in the military? Really!” Such tweets, the judge said, bolstered the idea that keeping the program going was in the public’s interest.
The judge wrote that previous beneficiaries of DACA, known as Dreamers, must be allowed to renew their status in the program, though the government will not be required to accept new applications from immigrants who had not previously submitted one. The judge also said the administration could continue to prevent DACA recipients from returning to the United States if they leave the country.
The idea that a program put in place by executive action alone could not be discontinued by executive action alone, particularly when there is no legal basis for the action, is as bizarre as anything you are likely to find coming out of a San Francisco courtroom.
Today the Department of Justice filed an appeal with the US Supreme Court. They didn’t bother the intermediary step of appealing to the Ninth Circuit.
— Chris Geidner (@chrisgeidner) January 16, 2018
This judge, William Alsup, received a smack-down directly from the Supreme Court just last month when he required the Justice Department to provide privileged internal deliberations to the plaintiffs in this case. Odds are the administration prevails on this.