President Donald Trump is known for his tough stance on immigration and his campaign promise to build a wall on the border with Mexico. And in his first year in office, Trump continued his commitment to enacting stricter immigration policies. But now, one of Trump’s main attempts to tighten immigration policy has been intercepted.
Late on January 9th, Judge William Alsup blocked the Trump administration’s attempt to repeal the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, also known as DACA. The California judge ruled that the administration must temporarily resume processing DACA applications.
The ruling doesn’t apply to everyone, though. Only prior DACA recipients can apply to have their benefits reinstated, Alsup’s decision stated.
Nearly 690,000 immigrants are protected by the decision while a lawsuit to determine the legality of the repeal is under way. It’s not clear when these Dreamers will be able to reapply for their DACA benefits.
In his ruling, Alsup argued that the September decision to end the DACA program had been made in order to help Trump gain the political leverage needed to approve a wall on the Mexican border. The judge used a December tweet from Trump to support his claim. In the tweet, Trump had written that “there can be no DACA without the desperately needed WALL.”
The judge blocked Trump’s DACA repeal just hours after Trump told members of Congress in an open January 9th meeting that he was in favor of a “bill of love” to protect former DACA recipients from deportation. This morning, January 10th, Trump responded to Alsup’s decision with rage, tweeting that the court system was “broken and unfair.”
Federal courts have stopped Trump’s attempts at stricter immigration policy before. Since taking office, all three versions of Trump’s travel ban on citizens from Muslim-majority countries have been blocked. Most recently, judges in Hawaii and Maryland halted the third travel ban in October.
Repealing DACA meant that about 800,000 immigrants who arrived in this country as children could be deported from their homes and separated from their families. Alsup’s ruling puts a temporary stop to that, and we’re glad to see the federal courts taking a stand. But we still need a law to replace DACA, and we hope that Congress will restore permanent protection to Dreamers soon.