US judge blocks Trump decision to end DACA program - Taipei Times
Thu, Jan 11, 2018 - Page 1 News List

US judge blocks Trump decision to end DACA program

AP, SAN FRANCISCO

Immigrants and their supporters demonstrate in support of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program in front of the Trump International Hotel in Washington on Sept. 5 last year.

Photo: AFP

A federal judge on Tuesday night temporarily blocked US President Donald Trump’s decision to end a program protecting young immigrants from deportation.

US District Judge William Alsup granted a request by California and other plaintiffs to prevent Trump from ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program while their lawsuits play out in court.

Alsup said lawyers in favor of DACA clearly demonstrated that the young immigrants “were likely to suffer serious, irreparable harm” without court action.

The judge also said the lawyers have a strong chance of succeeding at trial.

DACA has protected about 800,000 people who were brought to the US illegally as children or came with families who overstayed their visas.

The program includes hundreds of thousands of college-age students.

US Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced in September last year that the program would be phased out, saying former US president Barack Obama had exceeded his authority when he implemented it in 2012.

On Tuesday, the US Department of Justice said the judge’s decision does not change the fact that the program was an illegal circumvention of US Congress and it is within the agency’s power to end it.

“The Justice Department will continue to vigorously defend this position and looks forward to vindicating its position in further litigation,” spokesman Devin O’Malley said.

Sessions’ move to phase out DACA sparked a flurry of lawsuits nationwide.

Alsup considered five separate lawsuits filed in northern California, including one by California and three other states, and another by the governing board of the University of California school system.

“DACA covers a class of immigrants whose presence, seemingly all agree, pose the least, if any, threat and allows them to sign up for honest labor on the condition of continued good behavior,” Alsup wrote in his decision. “This has become an important program for DACA recipients and their families, for the employers who hire them, for our tax treasuries and for our economy.”

That echoed the judge’s comments from a court hearing on Dec. 20 last year, when he said many people had come to rely on DACA, and faced a “real” and “palpable” hardship from its loss.

Alsup also questioned whether the administration had conducted a thorough review before ending the program.

US Department of Justice attorney Brad Rosenberg said the administration considered the effects of ending DACA and decided to phase it out over time instead of cutting it immediately.

DACA recipients would be allowed to stay in the US for the remainder of their two-year authorizations. Any recipient whose status was due to expire within six months also got a month to apply for another two-year term.

People took out loans, enrolled in school, and even made decisions about whether to get married and start families on the basis of DACA, and now face “horrific” consequences from the loss of the program, said Jeffrey Davidson, an attorney for the University of California governing board.

“The government considered none of this at all when they decided to rescind DACA,” Davidson said.

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