California Judge Blocks Plan To End DACA

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals

A federal district judge in northern California temporarily blocked a plan by the Trump administration to end a program that has been protecting certain undocumented immigrants from being deported.

In 2012, President Obama enacted the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which has helped around 800,000 undocumented immigrants avoid deportation. These people came to the United States as children either illegally or had parents who stayed past the expiration date of their visas. Their numbers include many who are of college age.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions, though, believes President Obama overstepped his authority by enacting the program, and he announced in the fall that the program would come to a gradual end. Under the terms of the phase out, all DACA participants can remain in the United States for the rest of the 2-year period granted by the program. Also, any participant who had less than 6 months left before their authorization was set to expire can apply for a 2-year extension.

However, on Tuesday, William Alsup, who is a U.S. district judge for the Northern District of California, blocked the government's plan while lawsuits relating to the phase out are ongoing. Alsup did this in response to requests from California and three other states. He gave 2 reasons for his decision. He believes that the plaintiffs have a good chance of winning their lawsuits, and he also believes that the immigrants would suffer serious harm without his injunction.

The Department of Justice responded to the judge's decision by insisting that they have the right to end what they believe was an improperly enacted program that circumvented Congress's constitutional authority. Devin O'Malley, who is a spokesperson for the department, says that they will not stop seeking to end DACA. They further believe that their position will be upheld in future court cases.

The plaintiffs also believe that they will prevail in court, and they are seeking permanent protection of the immigrants, who are also known as "dreamers." The term relates to the DREAM act, which would have provided similar protections as DACA had it passed Congress.

Judge Alsup previously held a hearing on this matter on December 20, and his questioning of government lawyers strongly presaged Tuesday's decision.



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