This is truly absurd. A federal judge appointed by Bill Clinton has issued an order blocking enforcement of portions of President Trump’s order undoing DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals), Obama’s name for amnesty for “DREAMers.” Trump’s entire order is not blocked, as the administration need not process new applications, but those who previously submitted applications are allowed to renew them pending the outcome of the litigation:
A federal judge on Tuesday night ordered the Trump administration to revive part of the program that protected children illegally brought to the United States by their parents from being deported, calling the administration’s abrupt decision to end the program last year “arbitrary” and “capricious.”
. . . .
Partly granting a request from the University of California, U.S. District Judge William Alsup issued a preliminary injunction Tuesday night in San Francisco ordering DHS to resume accepting renewal applications from people who are already protected under DACA while challenges to the September order work their way through the courts. But DHS doesn’t have to accept new applications, he ruled.
Alsup, who was nominated to the court by President Bill Clinton, scolded DHS for having presented no analysis of the impact its order would have on the almost 700,000 young people “who had come to rely on DACA to live and to work in this country.”
This decision is outrageous. Immigration is Congress’s business. Obama overstepped his authority in issuing a blanket amnesty to a group of people under the guise of prosecutorial discretion. Trump had every right to undo that decision and return the issue to Congress, where it belongs.
The decision is here, and it makes no sense at all. In essence, the judge holds that the administration wrongly decided that Obama’s DACA order was illegal, and this decision was “arbitrary and capricious.” One aspect of the decision that has gotten attention from the press: it cites Trump tweets in its reasoning.
On the night of the rescission, President Trump called upon Congress specifically to enact DACA, tweeting, “Congress now has 6 months to legalize DACA (something the Obama Administration was unable to do). If they can’t, I will revisit this issue!” During an interview earlier in 2017, President Trump had stated “we are not after the dreamers, we are after the criminals” and that “the dreamers should rest easy” (App. 1852–53, 1958).
The easy and lazy reaction to this is that Trump is undisciplined and issues poorly thought-out statements that put his executive actions in legal jeopardy. That is often true, but here, there is really nothing in these statements that is objectionable. Trump’s voicing support for the plight of DREAMers is politics, and evidently something he believes. That does not mean that, as President, he is stuck with an illegal executive way of handling it. Nor does it mean that he believes that a Congressional solution would necessarily track every jot and tittle of Obama’s illegal executive order.
As a side note: many will express frustration with the courts undoing every executive order of Trump’s, harkening back to the reversals of Trump’s immigration order affecting Muslim countries. The difference there is that Trump was arguably impinging on Congress’s role to determine who enters the nation; Trump’s authority to make those decisions on his own is circumscribed by statute, as the primary authority rests with Congress. Here, by contrast, Trump’s order undoing DACA returned the DREAMers issue back to Congress, where it belongs.
I hope that this order is swiftly appealed and reversed. It’s a naked power grab by the courts and has no basis in law.