After months of uncertainty, a federal judge ruled Tuesday that the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, must stay in place, after the Trump administration rescinded the program in September 2017.
If the Trump administration does not provide an adequate justification for rescinding DACA within the next 90 days, the government will have to accept new DACA applications, under D.C. judge John D. Bates’ ruling.
The judge’s ruling does not “change anything immediately,” according to Linda Tam, a lecturer at the UC Berkeley School of Law and the director of the immigration clinic at the East Bay Community Law Center.
“We look forward to further defending our case on appeal on behalf of the thousands of DACA recipients who study at UC,” said a statement from the UC Office of the President. “These students, and all DACA recipients, must be allowed to continue to legally live, work, learn, and contribute to this country as the Americans they are.”
Many different groups of people will be affected, but those who aged into DACA — such as younger students or high school students — will likely be the most affected, according to Tam. She added that those who were turning 15 around the time of rescission will be most affected, as DACA applicants must be 15 years or older.
The recent ruling is significant for new DACA applicants, said Leti Volpp, a professor at Berkeley Law and director of the Center for Race and Gender, in an email.
“I definitely think this is a sign and a step in the right direction,” Tam said. “The courts are watching out and making sure that people’s rights are properly vindicated.”
Brenda Marquez, a DACA recipient and a campus junior said “there’s still no guarantee” that DACA will continue and that there’s uncertainty in her education.
“It’s not certain that there will be renewals,” Marquez said. “Many of us are in limbo, and I would say many people who qualify for DACA are somewhat excited that they have the opportunity to apply for DACA and continue their education and continue working.”
For Marquez, DACA means the opportunity to continue doing what “should already be a given.” She added that DACA allowed her to meet people and has brought her closer to her community.
“I think I should be able to work, go to school, and shouldn’t be in fear of deportation,” Marquez said. “I think DACA represents opportunity, and even though it’s not a guarantee for citizenship, I think it should be.”
Marquez said that when DACA was rescinded last year, it was “really hard” and “upsetting” for her.
“I wasn’t going to be able to be here anymore and be around my family and my friends,” Marquez said, “I can tell other students here felt the same thing.”