The triumphant return of DACA

On Behalf of | Jan 23, 2018 | US Immigration Law

Young, undocumented immigrants can breathe a collective sigh of relief. A new federal court ruling spells good news for this group. U.S. District Judge William Alsup has blocked the Trump administration’s order to repeal the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

What is DACA?

DACA, which first went into effect in 2012, is a protective program that targets undocumented immigrants who came to the United States when they were under the age of 16. The program gives such immigrants a work permit and protection from deportation. To qualify for the program, applicants must have a clean criminal record as well as meet a number of other requirements. The benefits provided under the program are temporary and are up for renewal every two years.

Is DACA at risk?

In the fall of 2017, the Trump administration attempted to repeal DACA—which would have impacted the security and livelihoods of more than 700,000 previously protected immigrants starting in March of this year. However, a new court ruling has shot down this effort, citing a “flawed legal premise” in its justification. It delivered orders to the Department of Homeland Security to reinstate DACA and resume the processing of applications as usual.

Advocates of undocumented immigrants have praised the move. It is worth noting, however, that the new court order does not address the nearly 400,000 Central American immigrants who have gained protected status in the United States following disaster or violent conflict in their home countries. The Trump administration’s order to remove these immigrants from the country by September, 2019 is still in effect. Nonetheless, champions of immigrant rights view this news as a positive step forward.