Trump administration's DACA termination was unlawful | News Coverage from USA

Trump administration’s DACA termination was unlawful

WASHINGTON — Friday, a federal appeals court ruled that the Trump administration’s rescission of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, was unlawful, reversing a decision by a lower court.  

In a 2-1 decision, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit ruled that the Department of Homeland Security had not followed the law in terminating the program. The court found that the way in which the Trump administration ended the program in September 2017 was “arbitrary and capricious” and thus a violation of the Administrative Procedure Act (APA).

This ruling does not have any immediate effect because rulings by other courts have required that DACA by kept in force. In November 2018, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a nationwide injunction that allowed DACA to remain in effect. 

“Hundreds of thousands of people had structured their lives on the availability of deferred action during the five years between the implementation of DACA and the decision to rescind,” the Fourth Circuit judges wrote in the majority opinion. “Although the government insists that Acting Secretary Duke considered these interests in connection with her decision to rescind DACA, her Memo makes no mention of them.”

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As a result, the judges in the majority decided to overturn the lower court’s ruling that the Department of Homeland Security had acted lawfully in its rescission of DACA.

“We hold that the Department’s decision to rescind DACA was arbitrary and capricious and must be set aside,” the appeals court judges continued.

According to the judges, the Department of Homeland Security acted in an “arbitrary” or “capricious” way that violated the Administrative Procedure Act because the Department ignored a legal memo dating back to the Obama administration supporting the legality of DACA, and did not account for the interests of the thousands of people currently enrolled in the program who had acted in reliance on the protections and benefits it provides. 

DACA proponents have argued that any changes to the program are subject to the requirements of the APA; Trump administration lawyers have argued the opposite. 

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The program had been instated under the Obama administration to provide legal protections for certain undocumented migrants who had been brought to the United States as children. There are over 800,000 undocumented immigrants who have been able to obtain work permits and relief from deportation because of the program.

Thursday, the Trump administration unveiled a proposal that would revamp the country’s immigration system to prioritize skilled workers instead of the current family reunification-based immigration system. The new immigration plan did not include any policy solution for any of the people currently covered by DACA.

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