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Trump Administration Ordered to Accept New DACA Applications (1)

July 17, 2020, 7:20 PM

The Department of Homeland Security must begin accepting new applications for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program following a ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court, a federal judge has ruled.

Maryland U.S. District Judge Paul W. Grimm’s ruling Friday directly addresses the government’s unwillingness to accept new DACA applicants, popularly known as “dreamers,” in the month since the high court’s June 18 ruling.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, the agency within DHS responsible for the adjudication of DACA petitions, has continued to say on its website that the agency “is not accepting requests from individuals who have never before been granted deferred action” under the Obama-era program.

Rescission of the DACA policy is vacated and the policy is restored to its status before Sept. 5, 2017, which accepted new applications and applications for renewal from participants, Grimm said.

His order follows rulings from the high court and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit that the Trump administration’s termination of the program that gives young, undocumented individuals who came to the U.S. as children the ability to stay and work in the country was “arbitrary and capricious.”

Under pressure from a cadre of Republican state attorneys general, Trump moved to rescind his predecessor’s program in 2017, contending President Barack Obama lacked the authority to implement it. Earlier this week, Trump said he would soon enact a merit-based immigration program. “Very importantly, we’ll be taking care of people from DACA in a very Republican way,” the president said on July 14.

“We were very frustrated with DHS’s refusal to accept and process applications following the Supreme Court’s decision. It was a clear violation of law,” said Dennis Corkery, an attorney for the plaintiffs and counsel with the Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs. “We are happy that Judge Grimm has ordered the government to reinstate DACA, which will allow individuals, many of whom are members of our organizational clients, to submit new applications for DACA protections.”

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, who led the multi-state coalition to save the program, in a statement following the order urged all dreamers who have been waiting for the litigation to conclude to apply.

Will Congress Act?

The White House and USCIS didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment on how the administration plans to proceed.

In the last few weeks, pressure has increased on the administration to reopen the program to new applicants.

On July 14, U.S. senators Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), ranking member of the Senate Immigration Subcommittee, and Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), a member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, led more than 30 of their Democratic colleagues in calling on Acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf to immediately comply with the Supreme Court’s decision.

Following Grimm’s order, Durbin said Republicans and Democrats in Congress “must come together to compel the President to immediately comply with these multiple court mandates.”

House Democrats passed the Dream and Promise Act a year ago, but the measure hasn’t been taken up by the Republican-led Senate.

The case is Casa de Maryland et al v. Department of Homeland Security, D. Md., No. 8:17-cv-02942, order 7/17/20

To contact the reporter on this story: Genevieve Douglas in Washington at gdouglas@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Martha Mueller Neff at mmuellerneff@bloomberglaw.com; Andrew Harris at aharris@bloomberglaw.com

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