A federal judge in Washington D.C. has ordered the Trump administration to begin accepting applications for DACA, which protects young immigrants brought to the country illegally from deportation, with a 90-day delay.
Tuesday’s court decision came from U.S. District Judge John D. Bates who said the decision the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program was based on the idea that it was “unlawful” but that this argument was “virtually unexplained.”
“DACA’s rescission was arbitrary and capricious because the Department failed adequately to explain its conclusion that the program was unlawful,” Bates said in his ruling. “For these reasons, DACA’s rescission was unlawful and must be set aside.”
Bates postponed the effects of his ruling for 90 days to allow the Trump administration to provide a better argument. If that does not happen, or if Bates is not satisfied with the new argument provided, then the federal government will be forced to accept new applications.
The administration stopped accepting new applications last fall after it announced Sept. 5 that it would be rescinding the program on March 5. The administration also stopped accepting renewal applications on Oct. 5 but was forced by a federal court in January to accept renewals while lawsuits against the program’s recission made their way through the courts.
Bates is the third federal judge to bar the Trump administration from rescinding the program, following suit of federal judges in San Francisco and New York.
President Donald Trump’s decision on DACA came after several states, including Texas, threatened to sue the federal government over the program. However, Bates said this was not enough to support the decision to terminate the program.
In response to the ruling, the Justice Department said in a statement that it plans to continue to “vigorously” defend its position that DACA is unlawful.
“Today’s order doesn’t change the Department of Justice’s position on the facts: DACA was implemented unilaterally after Congress declined to extend benefits to this same group of illegal aliens,” spokesman Devin O’Malley said in a statement.