San Francisco, California, USA : The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on Thursday that President Donald Trump cannot immediately end an Obama-era program shielding young immigrants from deportation.
A three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously kept in place a preliminary injunction blocking Trump’s decision to phase out the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.
Lawsuits by California and others challenging the administration’s decision will continue in federal court while the injunction remains in place.
In Thursday’s ruling, 9th Circuit Judge Kim Wardlaw said California and other plaintiffs were likely to succeed with their claim that the decision to end DACA was arbitrary and capricious.
She said the court is not trying to infringe on the president’s power regarding immigration law and instead wants to enable the exercise of that authority “in a manner that is free from legal misconceptions and is democratically accountable to the public.”
The Trump administration has said it moved to end the program last year because Texas and other states threatened to sue, raising the prospect of a chaotic end to DACA.
An email to the U.S. Department of Justice was not immediately returned.
DACA has protected some 700,000 people who were brought to the U.S. illegally as children or came with families that overstayed visas.
Trump’s decision to end it prompted lawsuits across the nation, including one by California. A judge overseeing that lawsuit and four others ruled against the administration and reinstated the program in January.
U.S. District Judge William Alsup rejected the argument that then-President Barack Obama had exceeded his power in creating DACA and said the Trump administration failed to consider the disruption that ending the program would cause.
The Trump administration then asked the 9th Circuit to throw out Alsup’s ruling.
During a hearing in May, Deputy Assistant Attorney General Hashim Mooppan argued that the courts could not review the administration’s decision to end DACA and defended the move against assertions that it was arbitrary and capricious.
“It’s a question of an agency saying, ‘We’re not going to have a policy that might well be illegal,’” Mooppan told the judges. “That is a perfectly rational thing to do.”
Mooppan said the administration was under no obligation to consider the fact that people had come to rely on DACA.
The judges on the 9th Circuit panel appeared skeptical of the argument that the DACA decision was beyond the court’s authority to review.
Wardlaw noted at the previous hearing that another appeals court had reviewed a similar Obama administration immigration policy.
Judge Jacqueline Nguyen questioned whether courts could intervene if they thought DACA was legal and disagreed with the administration’s position that it wasn’t.
The administration has been critical of the 9th Circuit and took the unusual step of trying to sidestep it and have the California DACA cases heard directly by the U.S. Supreme Court. The high court in February declined to do so.
Federal judges in New York and Washington also have ruled against Trump on DACA.
EARLIER : Federal Judge Refuses Texas Request To End DACA
Houston, Texas, USA: A federal judge, Andrew Hanen, today ruled the Trump administration must continue accepting Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA) renewals as he declined to issue a preliminary injunction in a case over the future of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.
The judge said the state had waited too long to file the suit and the results of ending the program now could harm the public.
The judge, however, did predict that a challenge to DACA will eventually be successful in front of the court, saying the program is likely illegal.
“The Court did not grant the preliminary injunction as it found that the States had delayed seeking this relief for years, that the balance of private interests fell in favor of the denial of the requested relief, and that implementing the relief at this point in time was contrary to the best interests of the public,” District Judge Andrew Hanen ruled.
“This Court found that injuries would occur to the Plaintiff States if the injunction was denied, but denied the injunction because it found that the injuries that would occur to the Government and the Defendant-Intervenors if the injunction were granted would be more profound and significant,” he added.
He went on to say that he thought DACA was “contrary to the Administrative Procedure Act.”
“Plaintiff States have shown a likelihood of success on the merits of their claim that the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals … program is contrary to the Administrative Procedure Act. … The court also found that the Plaintiff States had made a clear showing of irreparable injury,” Hanen said.
DACA is an Obama-era program that protects undocumented immigrants who came to the country as children from deportation.
Hanen is the third federal judge to prevent the end of the program since the Trump administration first rescinded it with a six-month delay last September.
Hanen has historically been opposed to programs like DACA, but this is the first time he’s ruled on such a program that is already in existence.
“Here, the egg has been scrambled,” Hanen wrote. “To try to put it back in the shell with only a preliminary injunction record, and perhaps at great risk to many, does not make sense nor serve the best interests of this country.”
Hanen stayed the case for 21 days, but left open the possibility to a hearing to extend the stay should any party want one.
The decision was a blow to Texas and seven other states that hoped Hanen would find the program, known as DACA, as objectionable as he did another Obama program, Deferred Action for Parents of Americans.
“Today’s favorable ruling brings joy and relief to many young immigrants and their communities who have been waiting to hear whether DACA would be blocked,” said Karla Perez, a DACA recipient who had urged the court to let the program continue.
DACA allows children of illegal immigrants to remain in the United States if they were under 16 when their parents brought them to the country and if they arrived by 2007. Three years ago, Hanen had blocked DAPA, which was intended to allow parents who came to the United States to remain if they had U.S.-citizen children, ruling in an earlier lawsuit also initiated by Texas.