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Federal Court Issues Injunction Preventing End of DACA Program

Judge William Alsup, a federal judge in San Francisco, issued a nationwide injunction against the elimination of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (“DACA”) program as it relates to extensions for individuals already under DACA protect (but this does not permit new DACA applications). DACA recipients who were unable to file applications to renew their status by last year’s deadline will now have a chance to submit renewal applications to USCIS.

The DACA program protects individuals brought to the US as children without lasting immigration status, who had no meaningful say in the fact that they are undocumented. An individual granted “Deferred Action” is protected from prosecution of a deportation or removal case by the government, and could get interim employment and – originally - travel authorization under the program.

The administration has indicated that it would cease granting these travel authorizations even for cases filed before withdrawal of the program in September, and would not honor travel authorizations (“parole documents”) previously granted even if unexpired and facially valid. Judge Alsup’s ruling does not extend to the administration’s position on parole – existing paroles will no longer be usable and no new paroles will be approved for DACA extensions to be processed.

The current administration announced in September that it would rescind the program, which had been created by an Executive Order under the Obama Presidency. The DACA program, under Judge Alsup’s ruling, must remain in place while challenges to the administration decision to end the program proceeds through the courts. Judge Alsup said the "decision to rescind DACA was based on a flawed legal premise."

The ruling also has the effect of taking immediate political pressure off congress to create a legislative solution before the end of the program.