A federal judge has halted Donald Trump’s proposed end to the DACA immigration scheme, providing affected citizens with a temporary reprieve.
U.S. District Judge William Alsup stated that DACA recipients must remain in the country while the decision is being challenged. Deportations for the 690,000 immigrants under the DACA scheme, known as ‘Dreamers’, had been slated to start in March.
The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals programme, or DACA, was instigated by the Obama administration. It provides a reprieve to the children of undocumented immigrants, granting them a renewable stay of deportation and eligibility for work permits.
DACA was first rescinded by the Department for Homeland Security last year, who found that it had “constitutional defects”. But the new rulings found similar issues with President Trump’s executive action, stating that the motives for the repeal had not been sufficiently justified in law.
The administration has reacted to the ruling with some frustration, believing the issue should be settled by Congress. White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders stated that “An issue of this magnitude must go through the normal legislative process.” President Trump meanwhile tweeted his dismay at the news, calling the court system “broken and unfair”.
Although the ruling should hold firm nationwide, it’s still unclear when the Dreamers can resume applying for work permits. The Trump administration has promised to challenge the ruling – but may be undermined by Trump’s own statements on the subject.
In the ruling, Judge Alsup referred specifically to tweets by Trump supporting DACA. In September 2017, Trump tweeted: “Does anybody really want to throw out good, educated and accomplished young people who have jobs, some serving in the military? Really!…..”
Trump has stated his approval for plans to rewrite DACA, stating that he would sign whatever Congress came up with. More recently, Trump has suggested that the border wall with Mexico should be instigated alongside a new version of DACA, in order to prevent more undocumented immigration in future.
Congress has recently attempted to add protections for Dreamers to the emergency budget, intended to prevent a government shutdown. Trump however rejected the first draft of the Bill, meaning the future of the scheme may be decided elsewhere.
The DACA programme was officially terminated on September 5th 2017, with no renewals after October 5th 2017. Affected individuals have been in a state of limbo since, with no news as to whether their two-year stays of deportation would be honoured, and no way to renew work permits.
One of the few ways for individuals in the DACA programme to guarantee citizenship is through the EB-5 Immigrant Investor scheme. By investing $500,000 in a Targeted Employment Area (TEA) or $1 million outside of a TEA, EB-5 applicants can receive a green card after five years.
Contrary to the administration’s general stance on immigration, the EB-5 scheme has as yet been unaffected. It was recently extended to the end of January, pending further consultation on the minimum investments and visa availability.
We’ll endeavour to keep you up-to-date on the latest US immigration news. For further information on emigrating to the US, DACA or the EB-5 programme, don’t hesitate to contact us.