A federal judge on Friday ordered the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to restore the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program to what it was before the Trump administration tried to end it in 2017.

Key Points:

  • U.S. District Judge Nicholas G. Garaufis gave DHS three days (until today) to post notices to government websites saying that the agency would accept first-time DACA applications, renewal requests and advance parole requests under the terms of the DACA program that existed before Sept. 5, 2017, when the Trump administrated attempted to terminate it.
  • The judge also said that DACA-related Employment Authorization Documents (EADs) that were issued for one-year periods in recent months must be extended to two years.

Background: The Supreme Court ruled in June that the way in which the Trump administration tried to end DACA violated federal law. Acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf subsequently issued a July memorandum saying that the agency would continue to accept DACA renewal applications, but not new enrollees, while it undertook a review of the program. The memo also said DHS would limit renewal grants and work authorization to one year, instead of two-year periods. Judge Garaufis ruled in November that Wolf had been serving unlawfully in his position when he issued the memo and did not have authority to issue it, but the judge did not immediately invalidate the memo. He did so Friday, ordering DHS to fully restore DACA.

BAL Analysis: Friday’s ruling was another significant victory for DACA recipients. The ruling means that, for now, DACA will be restored to what it was before the Trump administration tried to end it and eligible individuals will be able to apply for first-time DACA grants. The government is expected to comply with the ruling, but has also indicated that it will appeal it. The legality of the program is also being challenged in a separate federal lawsuit in Texas. BAL continues to follow the administrative response to Friday’s ruling and the DACA litigation as it moves forward in the courts. BAL will provide updates as information becomes available.

This alert has been provided by the BAL U.S. Practice group. For additional information, please contact berryapplemanleiden@bal.com.

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