A federal district court in Washington, D.C. ruled on Tuesday that if the Trump administration cannot further justify the cancellation of DACA within 90 days, it must completely restore the program. Two other courts had already ordered that renewals be accepted, but this is the first time a court had ordered that first-time applications also be allowed to be filed.
The decision involved lawsuits by the NAACP and Princeton University challenging the Trump administration’s September 5, 2017 announcement terminating DACA.
As with the other courts deciding DACA cases, the D.C. court found that the administration had provided “scant legal reasoning” in support of its termination announcement. The court described the administration’s explanations for its termination as “opaque.”
Here is how sloppy the legal work from Team Trump was. The official termination was contained in a letter from Attorney General Jeff Sessions. The letter claimed that DACA was unconstitutional, claiming to rely on a decision by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in the case of Texas v. United States blocking President Obama’s stillborn DAPA program for the parents of DREAMers.
In the D.C. District Court’s decision, the court noted that:
although the Sessions Letter asserted that DACA suffered from “the
same . . . constitutional defects that the courts recognized as to DAPA,” AR 251, the Fifth Circuit’s decision in Texas did not actually identify any such defects. Indeed, it expressly declined to address the plaintiffs’ constitutional claims.
The court said that the Trump administration’s “failure to give an adequate explanation of its legal judgment was particularly egregious” because hundreds of thousands of people had relied on the legality of the program for five years. The court criticized the Trump administration for its failure to “even acknowledge how heavily DACA beneficiaries had come to rely on the expectation that
they would be able to renew their DACA benefits” and that therefore “its barebones legal interpretation was doubly insufficient and cannot support DACA’s rescission.”
The judge in this case, John D. Bates, is a Republican appointee.