After failing to sufficiently respond to his April order DC’s Federal District Judge John Bates has ordered the White House to fully restore and restart the Obama 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.
Earlier California and New York rulings had stopped the administration from ending the program, but only going so far as to rule they had to continue renewals of existing applicants. Judge Bates’ ruling went further ordering the administration to fully restore and restart the program in its entirety, including accepting new applicants.
At the time Judge Bates had given the administration 90 days to “offer a better legal justification for its decision last September to end the program” CNN reports.
DC District Judge John Bates said the Trump administration still has failed to justify its proposal to end DACA, the Obama-era program that has protected from deportation nearly 800,000 young undocumented immigrants to the US as children.
The Department of Homeland Security and HLS’s Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen did follow up with a memo to Judge Bates only to basically reiterate the administration’s argument that because they expected DACA to likely be found unconstitutional in the upcoming case Texas and several other states are bringing to end DACA entirely it therefore had to end.
Nielsen was referring to Texas’ Attorney General Ken Paxton who filed suit against the administration on May 1st alleging DACA was unconstitutional. In June Trump’s Department of Justice said it wouldn’t fight Texas’ efforts. (Texas Tribune).
Nielson also added in the DHS memo response that “the agency had the discretion to end the program, as much as its predecessors had the discretion to create it.”
Judge Bates, a George W. Bush appointee, appeared to have found this answer unacceptable, calling it a “dilemma” the administration had created for itself and that “the government’s attempt to thread this needle fails.” (CNN)
DHS could not invent a new justification for his court, either. He said most of the arguments “simply repackage legal arguments previously made” and fail to pass muster.
“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.”
Judge Bates is giving the administration an additional 20 days to either “respond or appeal, if it chooses.” However, a ruling in the Texas case is expect as early as next week which would conflict with Judge Bates’ Friday ruling.