US President Donald Trump’s repeated back-and-forth flip flops over the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)—alternatively opposing and supporting it—have allowed a second pro-invasion judge to block the executive order repealing the policy.
As reported by Reuters, US District Judge Nicholas Garaufis in Brooklyn—A Clinton appointee—has ruled that DACA, cannot end in March as ordered by Trump, because the reasons the president gave for his decision were “too arbitrary and could not stand.”
The judge also ruled that the administration could eventually rescind the program if it provided sound reasoning.
“The question before the court is thus not whether defendants could end the DACA program, but whether they offered legally adequate reasons for doing so,” Garaufis wrote in the order. “Based on its review of the record before it, the court concludes that defendants have not done so.”
In his ruling, Judge Garaufis based his decision to keep DACA in place for now on the Administrative Procedure Act, which forbids the government from acting arbitrarily or capriciously in changing federal policy.
He noted that lawyers for the government had initially claimed that DACA was ended out a fear that the program would be struck down as illegal, much as a federal court in Texas had done in 2015 with a similar program known as DAPA, which protected the parents of young immigrants.
But, Judge Garaufis wrote, “the administrative record does not support defendants’ contention that they decided to end DACA for this reason.” In fact, he added, the government had showed “a failure to explain their decision” at all.
Garaufis questioned whether Attorney General Jeff Sessions’s views are consistent with those of the Trump administration, noting that there was an obvious contradiction between what the attorney general has said and the president’s September 5, 2017, tweet stating, “Congress now has 6 months to legalize DACA (something the Obama Administration was unable to do). If they can’t, I will revisit this issue!”
“It is not clear how the President would ‘revisit’ the decision to rescind the DACA program if the DACA program were, as the attorney general has stated, ‘an unconstitutional exercise of authority by the Executive Branch,’” Garaufis pointed out.
While the government has argued in court papers that Trump simply “emphasized the need for legislative action,” Garaufis said that argument “is unsupported by the text of the President’s tweet.”
The judge ordered the administration to process DACA renewal applications on the same terms as had been in place before the president took his action. The decision is identical to the January 9 ruling by US District Judge William Alsup in San Francisco that DACA must remain in place while litigation challenging Trump’s decision continues.
The Trump administration has already appealed the January 9 decision, asking that the case go straight to the Supreme Court, skipping over the 9th Court of Appeals, in an effort to end the legal challenges as quickly as possible.
The Supreme Court is due to consider whether to take up the administration’s appeal of the San Francisco ruling by the end of this week.