On Monday, the Trump administration said it had complied with the directive of a judge and restored the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program that protected thousands of young people from deportation, CNN reports.
The Department of Homeland Security announced that it was now accepting new applications, requests for two-year renewals, and the authorization to depart the US temporarily. The department said it was open to appeal the directive, signaling that its compliance to the order would be for a short duration of its legal appeal goes through.
However short the duration, the announcement is a significant relief and victory for thousands of young people who have been unable to seek application to the program since the start of the Trump administration. On his entry into office in 2017, Trump disabled DACA, arguing that the program was contrary to the US Constitution.
The program had given young individuals brought to the US as children a temporary legal status if they graduated from high school, if they served in the military and were honorably discharged, and if background checks showed they qualified.
However, in a major rebuke to President Donald Trump, the US Supreme Court had in June blocked the administration’s plan to end the program. The vote was 5-4 and had Chief Justice John Roberts writing the opinion. Roberts rejected the manner the Trump administration ended the program.
The justices had, in their opinion, ruled that while it is not their concern to decide on the wisdom of the policy or otherwise, the administration failed in complying with procedural requirements in the law to end the program. The DACA program currently protects about 650,000 people from deportation and enables them to work in the US legally.
Judge Nicholas Garaufis had ruled that Chad Wolf, the acting Homeland Security secretary, was illegally occupying his position, and had given the department a deadline of Monday to post notices that it would accept new applications.
After the US Supreme Court had blocked the attempt of the administration at ending the program in June, Wolf issued a memo that new applications for the program would be rejected and that renewals would be restricted to one year instead of two. It was a time-buying strategy by the administration while it considered its next course of action.
Biden had promised to reinstate the program once he assumes office. However, only Congress reserves the right to approve permanent legal status or citizenship for applicants. This places the fate of beneficiaries of the program hanging in the balance.