A third federal judge has ruled that the Trump administration must continue the DACA program that was implemented under President Barack Obama. The program protects young undocumented immigrants who arrived in the United States as children.
U.S. District Judge John Bates ruled on Tuesday evening that the Trump administration’s attempt to end the program is overreaching. Bates was nominated to his position by former Republican President George W. Bush.
Under Judge Bates’ ruling regarding the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, the government is required to accept new applications, as well as applications for the renewal of benefits under DACA.
Previous rulings only stated that the President’s administration must resume accepting renewal requests.
Judge Bates issued his ruling with a stipulation. The President’s administration will have 90 days to “better explain” its decision to cancel the program.
Justice Department spokesman Devin O’Malley responded by claiming that the program was unlawfully enacted by President Obama in 2012.
“The Justice Department will continue to vigorously defend this position and looks forward to vindicating its position in further litigation,” he said. O’Malley didn’t explain why the Justice Department never attempted to end the program in the past if it was thought to be illegally enacted.
President Trump has been fighting to end the program since September. Since that time, he has attempted to blame Democrats for not caring about people who would qualify for DACA.
DACA considerations are only given to individuals who were under the age of 16 when entering the country. Participants also need to be a student or graduate and have no “significant criminal record.” Since being enacted more than 800,000 young people have enrolled in the program. Nearly 690,000 participants are currently enrolled in the DACA program.
Judge Bates wrote in his opinion that DACA cancellation was “arbitrary and capricious” because the Trump administration failed to explain what was unlawful about the program.
“Neither the meager legal reasoning nor the assessment of litigation risk provided by DHS to support its rescission decision is sufficient to sustain termination of the DACA program,” the judge wrote.
Bates’ decision follows similar rulings from judges in San Francisco and New York.
The Trump administration immediately filed appeals in the first two cases and are expected to do the same against Bates’ ruling.