Federal Court Judge Upholds Nationwide DACA Injunction


The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit issued a ruling on Thursday, upholding a nationwide injunction against the Trump Administration’s attempts to immediately end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. This provided a temporary win for the approximate 800,000 “Dreamers” illegally residing in the U.S, who are protected under the DACA program enacted through executive action by President Obama in 2012.

The ruling from the San Francisco-based court is the third such ruling against the Trump Administration in the third seperate circuit and the third to be appealed by the administration, although it is the first to come from an appeals court. The three-judge panel ruled that the Trump Administration’s attempt to end the DACA program was “based on an erroneous view of what the law required,” and  was “arbitrary and capricious under settled law.”

While the ruling upholds the DACA program in a limited capacity and continues to protect some of the “Dreamers” enrolled, it also ensures that the case will now be heard by the Supreme Court sometime before the summer of 2019. With a five-judge conservative majority currently sitting on the Court, the likelihood of the Supreme Court ruling in the Trump Administration’s favour is high.

In September 2017, the Trump Administration announced that it would be ending the DACA program, citing pressure from border states such as Texas, with the then Attorney General Jeff Sessions falsely claiming that Obama’s executive order was unlawful. However, in January 2018 – in response to a lawsuit filed by the University of California – federal Judge William Alsup of the Northern District of California issued a preliminary injunction, ordering the government to cease their termination of the program. This injunction was then unsuccessfully appealed by the administration in the Supreme Court in February.

Since the injunction, several courts have ruled against the administration, and many more lawsuits have been brought forward by those who would be affected by the program’s end. According to California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, as a result approximately 187,000 people have “regained or extended their DACA protections […] and hundreds of thousands of additional Dreamers are eligible to do so.”

Despite this however, and despite the courts that have so far ruled against the administration’s attempt to terminate the DACA, the future for the program and the thousands of people it serves is unlikely to continue without strong bipartisan support for new legislation protecting Dreamers and their rights to live, learn, and work in the U.S.

Ashika Manu

Ashika is a media and communications honours graduate from the University of Canterbury and is interested in international relations, human rights, social issues, and online media.