Judge ruling keeps DACA alive, here is what happens next


The DACA drama continues, after it was given new life for a second time in two months when a federal judge has barred the Trump administration from ending the Obama-era DACA program.

U.S. District Judge Nicholas Garaufis in New York ruled Tuesday that Attorney General Jeff Sessions had “erred in concluding that DACA is unconstitutional” and granted a preliminary injunction sought by state attorneys general and immigrants who had sued the administration.

In January, U.S. District Judge William Alsup in San Francisco ruled that DACA must remain in place while litigation surrounding the program is ongoing.

The ruling came down as debate in the Senate on immigration reform struggled to gain traction, with Republican and Democratic leaders struggling to reach common ground on how to move forward. President Trump warned this was the “last chance” to extend protections to “Dreamer” immigrants before DACA expires on March 5.

So here’s how it works going forward: Under the ruling, the government will now have to maintain DACA as it was before the Sept. 5 announcement. But it does not have to accept new applications, Judge Garaufis wrote, and it can decide renewal requests on a case-by-case basis. While Judge Garaufis noted that he was “sympathetic” to those who were unable to apply for DACA before Sept. 5, he added that the injunction would not apply to them.

The U.S. Supreme Court is currently considering whether to take up the Trump administration’s appeal of that ruling.

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