In a court order Friday, a federal judge ordered the Department of Homeland Security to fully restore a program meant to provide a pathway for immigrants brought to the U.S. illegally as children.
The order directs DHS to begin accepting both first-time and renewal applications for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program within three days. It also calls on the government to issue a report by early January that details the number of applications received and/or denied since DHS moved to end the program again in July.
“All parties agree that the DACA program is currently governed by its terms as they existed prior to the attempted rescission of September 2017,” Judge Nicholas Garaufis of the Eastern District Court of New York wrote in his Friday order.
The Trump administration first ended the program in late 2017. But in June of this year, the Supreme Court ruled that the administration was wrong when it did so.
Still, in a July memo, Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf announced that the department would suspend the program anyway.
In November, the court found that Wolf was not rightfully serving in his role as acting secretary when he issued the ruling.
“Because Mr. Wolf was without lawful authority to serve as Acting Secretary of DHS, the Wolf Memorandum is VACATED,” Judge Garaufis wrote.
Since the Obama administration enacted the program in 2012, more than 600,000 DREAMers have relied on the DACA program to work, study and live without fear of deportation, according to the Migration Policy Institute.
Advocates immediately cheered the ruling.
“VICTORY in the courts for #DACA!” wrote the National Immigration Law Center on Twitter, one of the groups that helped bring the lawsuit.
The order also allows DACA protections to last for two years, as they did before. Recipients can apply for a renewal every two years.