Late Tuesday night, a federal district court judge in San Francisco issued a nationwide injunction to prevent the Trump Administration from ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
DACA was implemented by the Obama Administration in June 2012 to provide certain undocumented foreign nationals who entered the United States before the age of 16 protection from deportation. It also allows DACA recipients to apply for work authorization and "advance parole" travel documents. On September 5, 2017, the Trump Administration issued an Executive Order to end the DACA program, which was set to take effect on March 5, 2018. Members of Congress in the meantime are seeking to pass legislation to preserve DACA benefits for the approximately 700,000 foreign nationals who currently benefit from the program. Trump has tweeted that he would only sign such legislation if it included funding for his border wall.
On September 11, the States of California, Maine, Maryland, and Minnesota filed suit to block Trump’s plans to end DACA, arguing that the Trump Administration’s decision to rescind DACA was arbitrary and capricious, and based on a flawed legal premise. The plaintiffs also requested an preliminary injunction to prevent the Trump Administration from ending the program on March 5th, while the court makes a decision on the underlying lawsuit. In the federal district court’s decision on Tuesday, Judge Alsop granted the states’ injunction, finding that the plaintiffs would likely succeed on the merits of their claims.
What This Means for DACA Beneficiaries and Their Employers
It is unclear at this point whether the federal court’s decision will impact the Trump Administration’s plans to end DACA on March 5, 2018. The Trump Administration says that it will appeal the district court’s decision, which could result in a rescission of the injunction prior to this effective date. It is also possible that a compromise agreement may be worked out between the President and Congress to pass replacement legislation to preserve DACA benefits prior to this date. The federal court’s injunction may put pressure on the Trump Administration to make such a compromise.
We will provide more information as it becomes available.