A D.C. federal court has ruled that the Trump administration’s termination of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program was unlawful. The court is providing the administration 90 days to reissue the memorandum ending the program with a fuller explanation of its legal reasoning for doing so. If the government fails to do this, the DACA program will be “restored in full,” meaning the Department of Homeland Security would be required to accept both new and renewal DACA applications.

Key Questions:

How is this ruling different from the previous court decisions on DACA?
The federal courts in California and New York both ordered DHS to continue accepting applications to renew DACA grants. The D.C. judge went further and will require the full restoration of the DACA program if the government fails to issue a new memorandum rescinding the program in 90 days. This means individuals would be able to submit new applications for relief under DACA under the rules that were in effect before the administration suspended the program.

When will the ruling take effect? 
The D.C. court is postponing the effective date of the ruling for 90 days. The government now has 90 days to reissue a memorandum rescinding DACA, “this time providing a fuller explanation for the determination that the program lacks statutory and constitutional authority.” The judge found that in rescinding DACA last fall, the government “failed to adequately explain its conclusion that the program was unlawful.”

Does this ruling change the current status of DACA?
Not at this time. Since the judge is staying the order for 90 days, the ruling does not change current rules for DACA applications. DHS is still only accepting applications to renew DACA grants.

BAL Analysis: The ruling will not have a practical effect for 90 days. Currently, individuals who have already been granted relief under DACA may continue to submit applications to renew their DACA grants, but the government will not accept new applications. Instructions for filing renewal applications can be found on the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services website. Meanwhile, the other lawsuits are progressing through the federal appeals courts. BAL is continuing to monitor these lawsuits and will provide updates on any developments.

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

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