A federal judge on Friday ordered the Trump administration to begin accepting new applications for a program that shields undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as children.
Judge Nicholas Garaufis's order would fully restore the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which the Trump administration tried to end in 2017. In June, the Supreme Court ruled against the government and said the administration violated federal law when it rescinded DACA.
Friday's order directed the Department of Homeland Security to post a public notice by Monday saying it is accepting first-time requests for the program and that it was restoring the work authorization offered through the program to two years.
Garaufis's order overturns a July 28 memo issued by acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf, after its loss at the Supreme Court, stating new DACA applications would not be accepted and that renewals would only be granted to people currently in the program for one year instead of two.
Garaufis's latest order follows one he issued in November stating that Wolf was not lawfully serving as acting DHS secretary when he issued the July 28 memo.
Juliana Macedo do Nascimento — a DACA recipient and state and local policy manager of United We Dream, the largest immigrant youth-led network in the US — said that since the Supreme Court ruled against the Trump administration, over 300,000 DACA-eligible immigrants have been waiting to apply to the program for the first time.
"Although this is a victory for immigrant youth, loved ones and allies who have fought every step of the way, DACA does not give us permanent protection from deportation," Macedo do Nascimento said in a statement.
Macedo do Nascimento said the incoming Biden–Harris administration must use every tool at its disposal to find a permanent solution for the 11 million undocumented people living in the US.
There were 645,610 active DACA recipients as of June 30, the most recent data from US Citizenship and Immigration Services. At the time, there were 27,850 people with pending DACA renewals.
The Migration Policy Institute, a nonpartisan immigration think tank, estimates that there are about 1.3 million undocumented immigrants who could qualify for DACA.