California federal judge blocks Trump’s decision to terminate DACA

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A California federal judge temporarily prevented the Trump administration from ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, on Tuesday.

U.S. District Judge William Alsup ordered a nationwide injunction on the basis that the initial decision to end the program in September was improper and that the Trump administration must maintain the program on a nationwide basis while the legal battle surrounding the program continues.

“The University of California is pleased and encouraged that the court has granted an injunction to temporarily stop the Department of Homeland Security’s rescission of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program,” the UC Office of the President said in a statement released Tuesday.

The UC system has approximately 4,000 undocumented students and a large number of students, teachers, researchers and health care providers who are DACA recipients, according to UCOP spokesperson Stephanie Beechem.

Beechem said the UC will continue to provide support to undocumented students on UC campuses by allowing undocumented California residents to pay in-state tuition, offering legal services to undocumented students and directing campus police not to contact, detain, question or arrest individuals based on undocumented status.

UC President Janet Napolitano, who served as former president Barack Obama’s secretary of Homeland Security from 2009-13 and helped create the DACA program, has joined former Homeland Security secretaries Jeh Johnson and Michael Chertoff in calling for congressional action to pass legislation for DACA recipients.

“The 690,000 DACA recipients – who came to this country at the average age of six and have lived here twenty years – deserve certainty,” said Napolitano, Johnson and Chertoff in a letter to congressional leaders. “Our country is better if these individuals do not have to spend the next few months planning for a future where they cannot work legally and could be deported at any time, many to countries they cannot remember.”

According to Shiori Akimotothe DACA program coordinator at the East Bay Sanctuary Covenant, a Berkeley-based organization that offers legal services to immigrants and refugees, renewal applications for DACA cannot be sent out until the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services responds to Alsup’s ruling.  

Akimoto said legislation like the DREAM Act would provide a more long-term solution than a program like DACA, which was created by an executive order, and that most DACA-eligible immigrants will qualify for the DREAM Act.

“UC will continue to support DACA recipients by challenging the legality of the Trump administration’s rescission of DACA, supporting congressional legislation that would allow for permanent protection, and providing services and aid to its undocumented students,” UCOP said in the statement.

Contact Phil Zhang at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter at @philzhangDC.