Judge orders Trump administration to take new DACA applications

Immigrants rights advocates rally outside the Metropolitan Detention Center in L.A. on Aug. 26, 2020.
Immigrants rights advocates rally outside the Metropolitan Detention Center in L.A. in August. The protesters denounced President Trump’s refusal to allow new applicants for DACA.
(Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

The Trump administration must accept new applications for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program that protects some young immigrants from deportation, a federal judge ruled Friday, in vacating a memo from the acting Homeland Security secretary that had suspended it.

U.S. District Judge Nicholas Garaufis said the government had to post a public notice within three days — including on its website and the websites of all other relevant government agencies — that new DACA applications were being accepted.

The ruling follows one from November in which Garaufis said acting Department of Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf was unlawfully in his position.


On Friday, the judge said that invalidated the memo Wolf had issued in July suspending DACA for new applications and reducing how long renewals were valid from two years down to one year.

Wolf had issued his memo after the U.S. Supreme Court‘s ruling in June that President Trump had failed to follow rule-making procedures when he tried to end the program.

Garaufis also ordered the government to put together a status report on the DACA program by Jan. 4.

An email seeking comment was sent to the Department of Homeland Security.

“Every time the outgoing administration tried to use young immigrants as political scapegoats, they defiled the values of our nation. The court’s order makes clear that fairness, inclusion, and compassion matter,” said New York state Atty. Gen. Letitia James, who led a number of state attorneys general in one of the lawsuits against the administration.

The Trump administration announced the end of the program in 2017, leading to the legal challenges that wound up in front of the Supreme Court.

In making its ruling, the Supreme Court upheld DACA, saying that the way the administration had shut it down was improper, but that the president did have the authority to do so.

DACA, started during the Obama administration, allows certain young immigrants who were brought to the country illegally as children to legally work and shields them from deportation. Those approved for the program must go through background checks and regularly renew.

About 650,000 people are enrolled in the program.