Brooklyn Federal Court Finds Trump Ending DACA Violated Law

New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, leading 16 other state attorneys general, first sued the Trump administration in September 2017 to defend Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. (Photo courtesy/Office of Attorney General Eric Schneiderman)

Last night, Judge Nicholas Garaufis of the Federal District Court in Brooklyn issued a nationwide order for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to accept renewal applications for Dreamers who have been protected by Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) in the past.

This decision follows the January order by Federal District Court Judge William Alsup in California requiring that the DHS resume accepting renewals for DACA. The Trump administration had ordered DHS to stop accepting renewals on October 5, 2017.

The case, New York v. Donald Trump, was brought by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman in September 2017 as one of a series of state challenges of the termination of DACA. In his decision, Garaufis said that while the president can end the DACA program, he cannot act in violation of the Administrative Procedures Act in doing so.

The judge wrote that “the decision to end the DACA program appears to rest exclusively on a legal conclusion that the program was unconstitutional and violated the APA and INA.” This conclusion, he said, was incorrect and the termination was therefore arbitrary.

The judge also said that the reasons given by Jeff Sessions for terminating the program were inherently contradictory. The Trump administration said that it was ending the program because it was unconstitutional, and at the same time, it allowed young immigrants to continue to renew their applications for a month after that. If the program were really thought to be unconstitutional, it would have been ended on the spot.

Since those with DACA have already been renewing their permits, this decision does not create a new opening for Dreamers, but it is yet another judicial judgement that Donald Trump and Jeff Sessions do not know how to act within the law.

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Patrick Young blogs daily for Long Island Wins. He is the Downstate Advocacy Director of the New York Immigration Coalition and Special Professor of Immigration Law at Hofstra School of Law. He served as the Director of Legal Services and Program at Central American Refugee Center (CARECEN) for three decades before retiring in 2019. Pat is also a student of immigration history and the author of The Immigrants' Civil War.

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