Federal District Judge John Bates ruled Tuesday that the Trump Administration could not explain what about the program was unlawful. A major requirement for DACA eligibility is that the applicant be at least 15-years-old when they apply and according to the Center for American Progress, an estimated 23,000 young people turned 15-years-old after the Trump administration ended the program on September 5, 2017.
Even so, and as explained by the National Immigration Law Center, although the renewals of the program remain open thanks to the two previous sentences, "the Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) is NOT accepting any applications from first-time applicants at this time", until the Department of National Security meets the stipulations of Judge Bates. The decision affects close to 17,000 Indians.
A federal judge dealt yet another blow to the White House's efforts to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, which shields some 700,000 immigrants from deportation. Yet, politically, they couldn't leave nearly one million illegal aliens subject to immediate deportation; the political consequences would be too great.
According to South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT), a non-profit organization, a total of 5,500 Indians and Pakistanis are covered under DACA, and an additional 17,000 from India are eligible for it.
But the program had always been on rocky ground, with one federal judge ruling it illegal - though deciding he didn't have jurisdiction to hear the case. Talks to extend the program, created in 2012 by Obama, got bogged down in budget negotiations, and DACA has emerged as a symbolic stand-in for the debate over illegal immigration that's been at a stalemate in Washington for more than a decade. In September, the administration defended ending the program by saying it was likely to fall in the courts anyway, arguing a six-month wind-down of the program would be more orderly than a sudden end brought by the courts.
The government is expected to appeal the decision, but in January, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to take up a key case dealing with DACA, leaving the administration few options. Bates' order also does not effect the older court decisions that have made it so current enrollees are able to renew their DACA. But while the earlier rulings barred the administration from ending DACA for current recipients, making them subject to deportation, Bates went a step further and said the government must allow others to apply.
A spokesman for the Justice Department, quoted by Politico, said the administration will continue to defend its decision to end DACA.