Friday, March 22, 2019

DACA headed for a court showdown

 

A federal judge on Friday upheld his order that DACA should be fully restored, setting a 20-day deadline for the administration to do so.

DC District Judge John Bates said the Trump administration has still failed to justify its decision to end the Obama-era program that has protected from deportation nearly 800,000 young undocumented immigrants brought to the US as children. But Bates agreed to delay his ruling for 20 days to give the administration time to respond and appeal, if it chooses.

The ruling sets up potentially conflicting DACA orders from federal judges by the end of the month because it comes less than a week before a hearing in a related case in Texas. In that case, Texas and other states are suing to have DACA ended entirely, and the judge is expected to side with them based on his prior rulings.

The Department of Homeland Security followed up by largely reiterating its previous argument: that DACA was likely to be found unconstitutional in the Texas case if it were challenged there and thus it had to end. Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen also said in the DHS response that the agency had the discretion to end the program, as much as its predecessors had the discretion to create it.

Bates, a George W. Bush appointee, found that explanation unsatisfactory, and said the DHS could not invent a new justification for his court, either.

“Although the Nielsen Memo purports to offer further explanation for DHS’s decision to rescind DACA, it fails to elaborate meaningfully on the agency’s primary rationale for its decision,” Bates wrote. “The memo does offer what appears to be one bona fide (albeit logically dubious) policy reason for DACA’s rescission, but this reason was articulated nowhere in DHS’s prior explanation for its decision, and therefore cannot support that decision now.”

CNN