(Bloomberg) -- Yet another federal court has prohibited the Trump administration from ending the Obama-era program offering protection from deportation for hundreds of thousands of children of undocumented immigrants, this time setting a road map for the government to begin accepting new applications.
U.S. District Judge John Bates in Washington said the government’s 2017 plan to rescind Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals -- known as Dreamers -- “was virtually unexplained” and so its determination that it was “unlawful” is now deemed “arbitrary and capricious.” The government has 90 days to produce a better reason to end the program. Without an explanation, the U.S. “must accept and process new as well as renewal DACA applications,” he wrote in Tuesday’s order.
The Justice Department said it would continue to seek an end to the program.
“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. “The Department of Homeland Security therefore acted within its lawful authority in deciding to wind down DACA in an orderly manner. Promoting and enforcing the rule of law is vital to protecting a nation, its borders, and its citizens.”
A group including the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Princeton University and Microsoft Corp. sued in November to save the program that allowed Dreamers to remain and work in the U.S. They argued the government had violated the Administrative Procedure Act, which mandates that repeal of government regulations be preceded by public notice and an opportunity for comment.
In January, a San Francisco federal judge similarly blocked the Trump administration from ending DACA, rejecting the government’s argument that the courts can’t review whether the president improperly decided to terminate the program. The decision will be reviewed by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco.
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