On Tuesday, U.S. District Judge John Bates rejected the Department of Homeland Security's legal reasoning for President Trump's decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
In his opinion, Bates, a Republican appointee to the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., said the Homeland Security Department "failed adequately to explain its conclusion that the program was unlawful." He gave the department three months to come up with a better reason for ending the program, and said if they couldn't do this, DACA would be restored. Bates said he found one argument, that conservative state attorneys general planned on suing to end DACA, "so implausible that it fails even under the deferential arbitrary and capricious standard."
In September, Trump announced he would wind down DACA by March 5, but the order has been challenged in court several times, and Bates is the third judge to rule against the administration. DACA, created by former President Barack Obama, protects certain undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children from deportation and makes them eligible for work permits. Catherine Garcia
Trump says 'NO MORE DACA DEAL,' claims 'caravans' of immigrants are arriving to 'take advantage of DACA'
President Trump on Twitter Sunday rescinded his unfulfilled offer to work across the aisle with Congress to pass a law formalizing protections for young immigrants brought to the country illegally as children:
Border Patrol Agents are not allowed to properly do their job at the Border because of ridiculous liberal (Democrat) laws like Catch & Release. Getting more dangerous. “Caravans” coming. Republicans must go to Nuclear Option to pass tough laws NOW. NO MORE DACA DEAL!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 1, 2018
Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) was implemented by the Obama administration via executive order in 2012. Trump rescinded it in September and gave Congress a deadline of March 5 to pass a DACA law. The deadline passed without a deal, though the issue is being litigated.
In a pair of follow-up tweets, Trump reiterated his desire to expand the wall along the southern border and claimed immigrants arriving illegally in the U.S. right now are trying to use DACA to stay in the country:
Mexico is doing very little, if not NOTHING, at stopping people from flowing into Mexico through their Southern Border, and then into the U.S. They laugh at our dumb immigration laws. They must stop the big drug and people flows, or I will stop their cash cow, NAFTA. NEED WALL!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 1, 2018
These big flows of people are all trying to take advantage of DACA. They want in on the act!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 1, 2018
Contra Trump, immigrants who come to the U.S. in 2018 cannot avail themselves of DACA. As the website of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services details, DACA was limited to those who can demonstrate they were under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012," came to the U.S. before they turned 16, have "continuously resided in the United States since June 15, 2007, up to the present time," and were "physically present in the United States on June 15, 2012." Bonnie Kristian
President Trump addressed recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals immigration program during his signing of the omnibus spending package Friday, telling young immigrants brought into America illegally as children: "The Republicans are with you."
Trump further insisted: "The Democrats fought us. They just fought every single inch of the way. They did not want DACA in this bill." He added that he wants "the Hispanic community to know and DACA recipients to know that Republicans are much more on your side than the Democrats, who are using you for their own purposes."
Pres. Trump to DACA recipients: "The Republicans are with you...the Democrats fought us. They just fought every single inch of the way. They did not want DACA in this bill." https://t.co/1yvmBkkQQc pic.twitter.com/sPPtdlMprM
— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) March 23, 2018
President Trump's March 5 deadline for phasing out the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals immigration program elapsed Monday with no resolution. DACA, which provides protections for young immigrants brought into America illegally as children, was supposed to terminate Monday after Trump announced he would end the program in September, but a number of court rulings have blocked Trump from ending the program.
Trump has blamed Democrats for having "totally forgotten about DACA." The national policy director for the ACLU, Faiz Shakir, expressed his own frustrations with Congress to NPR: "There's a concern that the March 5 deadline could die with a whimper rather than a bang," he said. "And by that I mean people might simply have forgotten that DREAMers were left in this state of limbo and no action was taken to save them."
Protests in support of the 700,000 DACA recipients are underway at the National Mall to mark the deadline:
— Alejandro Alvarez (@aletweetsnews) March 5, 2018
"The calls for a fix stand in contrast with the lack of momentum for any progress in Washington, with little likelihood of that changing in the near future," CNN writes. "Congress has a few options lingering on the back burner, but none are showing signs of imminent movement." Jeva Lange
Defense Secretary James Mattis told reporters at the Pentagon on Thursday that Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients, known as DREAMers, who are serving in the military will not be deported, even if the program expires before Congress can come up with an immigration deal.
"We would always stand by one of our people," he said. Mattis' promise extends to DACA recipients who are on active duty, in the active reserves, veterans who were honorably discharged, and new troops who have signed contracts and are waiting to go to boot camp. It does not cover anyone who commits a serious felony, or apply if a judge has signed a final deportation order. "That would be a judicial action that obviously we obey in the court system," Mattis said. "We don't have veto authority over a court."
Mattis also said he confirmed with Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen in a phone call on Thursday that the protections for active service members and veterans are in place. President Trump announced last year he would be rescinding the Obama-era DACA program, and it's set to expire on March 5. Catherine Garcia
Citing 'dysfunctional' Congress, senators consider kicking the can on DACA solution for another year
With a March 5 deadline looming for finding a legislative answer for people brought to the U.S. illegally as children, senators are reportedly considering a temporary fix that would put the issue off for another year, Politico reports. "That may be where we're headed because, you know, Congress is pretty dysfunctional," warned Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.).
On Monday, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) plan to introduce bipartisan immigration legislation that would give Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients a pathway to citizenship, although Politico claims the approach is "unlikely to do the trick."
Still, with a temporary fix increasingly looking like the only realistic option, senators aren't happy: "I think that's a lazy way out of fixing a problem that we're on the brink of being able to fix," argued Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) while Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) said "I'm a little concerned that if it's a very short-term fix that [DACA recipients are] still living in fear of what's gonna happen, rather than knowing that they can live in this country and work towards becoming a citizen, assuming they have a good record."
Last month, the government partially shut down after Democrats insisted they couldn't agree to a budget unless DACA was addressed. With the budget deadline coming up again on Thursday of this week, Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) told CNN's State of the Union: "I don't see a government shutdown coming, but I do see a promise by [Sen. Mitch] McConnell to finally bring this critical issue that affects the lives of hundreds of thousands of people in America, finally bringing it to a full debate. That's what we were looking for when there was a shutdown. We've achieved that goal, we're moving forward." Jeva Lange
While speaking to reporters on Wednesday, President Trump said he is open to a pathway to citizenship for undocumented young people brought to the U.S. as children, putting him at odds with some of the most conservative members of the Republican Party.
"We're going to morph into it," he said. "It's going to happen, at some point in the future, over a period of 10 to 12 years. Somebody does a great job. They worked hard. It gives incentive to do a great job. They've done terrifically. Whether they have a little company or whether they work or whatever they're doing — if they do a great job, I think it's a nice thing to have incentive of, after a period of years being able to become a citizen." Last year, Trump said he was ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which protected undocumented young people from deportation, and gave Congress until March 5 to come up with a legislative solution.
Trump told reporters he thinks a deal will be reached, and DACA recipients "should not be concerned" about being deported. He also reiterated that he wants $25 billion to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border and $5 billion for additional security measures. "I can tell you this — if you don't have a wall you don't have DACA," he said. Catherine Garcia
The Justice Department will ask the Supreme Court to overturn DACA ruling, bypassing appellate courts
On Tuesday, the Justice Department said it would take the unusual step of asking the Supreme Court to step in and overturn U.S. District Judge William Alsup's ruling blocking President Trump's decision to wind down the Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals (DACA) immigration program, bypassing the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. "It defies both law and common sense" that a "single district court in San Francisco" can halt Trump's plan, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in a statement. "We are now taking the rare step of requesting direct review on the merits of this injunction by the Supreme Court so that this issue may be resolved quickly and fairly for all the parties involved."
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra (D), who filed one of the federal lawsuits that led to Alsup's injunction, said he was confident that higher courts will uphold the decision to block "the unlawful action by the Trump administration to terminate DACA." The fate of the roughly 700,000 DREAMers covered by DACA is a central sticking point in negotiations to fund the federal government. The Justice Department isn't requesting a stay of Alsup's ruling, The Washington Post notes, and as soon as it files its petition with the Supreme Court, the justices can take the case or wait for the 9th Circuit appellate court to weigh in first, as would normally happen. Peter Weber