Second US judge blocks Trump order to end ‘Dreamer’ program

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NEW YORK — A second US judge on Tuesday blocked an order by President Donald Trump to end a program protecting from deportation migrants who had been brought illegally to the country as children.

The decision comes after a federal judge in San Francisco in January ruled against repealing the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program.

In September, Trump said he was scrapping the DACA program but delayed enforcement to give Congress six months — until March — to craft a lasting solution for the program recipients, informally known as “Dreamers.”

Some 690,000 Dreamers registered under the DACA program, and 1.1 million others were eligible but did not sign up.

The two court rulings allow for DACA to temporarily remain in force, allowing program recipients to submit renewal applications.

On Friday, the Supreme Court will consider whether to take on the issue. If the high court accepts the case, a decision is unlikely until late spring.

US District Judge Nicholas G. Garaufis in Brooklyn said in a written order that the Republican president “indisputably” has the power to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program but relied on flawed legal positions in doing so.

President Donald Trump’s administration didn’t offer “legally adequate reasons” for ending a program that spared many young immigrants from deportation if they were brought to the US as children, Garaufis ruled Tuesday as he ordered the program to continue.

“The Trump administration should be able to alter the policies and priorities set by its predecessor,” Garaufis said.

He said his order does not require the government to grant any particular DACA applications or renewal requests.

The ruling came in lawsuits brought by immigration rights groups and 15 states and the District of Columbia.

Justice Department spokesman Devin O’Malley said the order doesn’t change the government’s position that DACA was an “unlawful circumvention of Congress.”

“DACA was implemented unilaterally after Congress declined to extend these benefits to this same group of illegal aliens,” he said.

O’Malley added that the Department of Homeland Security “acted within its lawful authority in deciding to wind down DACA in an orderly manner” and looked forward to vindicating its position in future litigation.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions has said then-President Barack Obama’s decision to implement DACA was an unconstitutional exercise of authority. Known as “Dreamers,” participants in the program were brought to the US illegally as children or came with families who overstayed visas.

US lawmakers are currently sparring over the hot-button issue.

Last month, Trump introduced a proposal that would put all 1.8 million young immigrants in question on a pathway to citizenship, in exchange for stiff cutbacks on overall immigration and funding for a massive wall on the US border with Mexico. — Agencies


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