A Federal Judge Orders the Trump Administration to Fully Reinstate the DACA Program—What it Means for You

On December 4th, 2020, there was another major development in DACA litigation. A federal judge ordered the full reinstatement of the program. As reported by The New York Times, Judge Nicholas Garaufis vacated the Trump Administration’s July order preventing new applicants from applying for protection. Here, our DACA lawyer provides an overview of the federal court decision and explains what it means for Dreamers.

Federal Judge: DACA Must Be Fully Reinstated

Last year, the Supreme Court of the United States saved the DACA program. However, it was not a complete victory for immigrant rights. Soon after, acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf issued a memo dramatically scaling back the program. Among other things, the memo limited DACA renewals to one year instead of two years and barred new people from applying for DACA protections.

Notably, in November, Judge Garaufis ruled that Chad Wolf was never lawfully nominated to serve as the head of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The decision in the case of Batalla Vidal v. Wolf builds on his previous ruling: As Chad Wolf was not the lawful Secretary of Homeland Security, he did not have the legal authority to limit DACA. His memo has been vacated, and DACA has once again been fully reinstated.

Where Does DACA Stand Now?

DACA remains in a state of flux. The federal judge’s decision carries full force of law—meaning the program for Dreamers has indeed been fully reinstated. However, the Trump Administration has already expressed its public displeasure with the decision. The Department of Justice (DOJ) says that it is planning to file an appeal. Trump Administration officials may try to get a higher court to block the judge’s order.

Further, as the administration winds down, it may try to take more administrative action to restrict DACA rights. On the other hand, President-Elect Biden has repeatedly stated that he plans to fully reinstate DACA on his own once he assumes office in late January. As President, Joe Biden will have considerable authority to eliminate the Trump Administration’s restrictions on DACA.

Dreamers Need a More Permanent Solution

The decision is an important legal victory for Dreamers and for immigrant rights more broadly. Nonetheless, Dreamers exist in a state of limbo and uncertainty. Many people feel that their legal protections can be pulled away at seemingly any minute. Ultimately, the protections provided by DACA, as crucial as they are, were always meant to be temporary. DACA was meant to serve as a bridge until Congress could get its act together. Dreamers still need a more permanent, legislative solution.

Call Our DACA Attorney for Immediate Help

At Goldstein Immigration Lawyers, we are proud to provide reliable and attentive legal representation to our clients. Let us help you find answers. Call our DACA attorney now for confidential, no commitment initial legal consultation. Our law firm represents immigrants throughout Southern California, including in Burbank, Santa Monica, Torrance, Glendale, and Monterey Park.