Judge's Injunction Could Alleviate Pressure on Congress to Legislate Permanent Solution for DACA

In the midst of time sensitive negotiations between bipartisan members of congress working to legislate a permanent solution for DACA, Judge William Alsup of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California issued a nationwide injunction to temporarily block the Trump administration’s rescission of the Program. Alsup’s injunction states that the DACA program should be allowed to continue, and recipients can now renew their DACA applications.

On September 5th, 2017, President Trump announced that he was going to rescind DACA, stating that congress has six months to do its job in producing legislation that will determine what to do with DACA recipients following the policy’s removal. The timing of this announcement was no doubt due to the pressure of ten state attorney generals and one governor threatening to sue the United States over the unconstitutionality of DACA.

Judge Alsup, who was appointed by Bill Clinton in 1999, justified his injunction by claiming that the Trump administration’s decision to rescind the executive order issued by Obama to create DACA was illegal. He stated in his injunction that “The agency action was ‘not in accordance with law’ because it was based on the flawed legal premise that the agency lacked authority to implement DACA.”

However, a spokesman for the Justice Department, Devin O’Mally, argued that “DACA was implemented unilaterally after Congress declined to extend these benefits to this same group of illegal aliens. As such, it was an unlawful circumvention of Congress, and was susceptible to the same legal challenges that effectively ended DAPA. 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.”

O’Mally’s statements certainly hold some legitimacy; A Federal court already ruled DAPA an unconstitutional act of executive overreach. DAPA was an immigration policy Obama attempted to establish through executive order that was very similar to DACA but applied to the undocumented parents of American Citizens and legal residents.

Even though most Americans feel the DREAMers should not be subjected to deportation, it is likely that DACA recipients would have lost their legal residency status had the case against DACA gone to trial and been determined by the Supreme court to be unconstitutional.

Instead, President Trump decided to gradually phase out DACA, while placing pressure on Congress to legislate a permanent solution that would provide DREAMers with legal status before DACA benefits begin to expire on March 5th.

Yesterday, things looked promising for DREAMers after negotiations between Democrats and Republicans seemed to conclude that they wanted to propose legislation that would protect DREAMers and increase border security before the March 5th deadline, and President Trump said he would sign any bill they could pass in Congress. Today, it seems Judge Alsup’s injunction may have alleviated the pressure on legislators to reach a permanent solution in a timely manner. Now that it is unclear whether DACA benefits will be allowed to temporarily continue, that March 5th deadline is no longer as pressing.

It is likely that the Trump Administration will appeal the injunction. An appeals court could hear the case in an emergency hearing as soon as tomorrow, given its great importance.

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