Thomas Gallatin / Dec. 8, 2020

Trump Admin Fails to End DACA

A federal judge ordered the program fully reinstated and DHS announced it will comply.

Federal Judge Nicholas Garaufis on Friday ordered that the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) immigration program be fully reinstated. This decision is the latest blow to President Donald Trump’s years-long effort to end Barack Obama’s unconstitutional executive order.

Recall this past summer the U.S. Supreme Court issued a 5-4 ruling against the Trump administration’s attempt to halt DACA — not over the question of the legality of the program itself but over procedural issues. The Court declared that the Trump administration violated the Administration Procedure Act when ending DACA.

Following this latest setback from Judge Garaufis, however, the Trump administration has essentially thrown in the towel, as the Department of Homeland Security announced that it would abide by the ruling and begin the reimplementation of DACA this week. This means that at least 300,000 more illegal aliens will be eligible to be added to the current 640,000 DACA recipients.

With the increasing likelihood of Joe Biden taking up residence at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in the new year, the possibility of truly ending DACA is all but dead. Biden has vowed not only to retain the program but to also press Congress to make it a pathway for U.S. citizenship for its recipients.

However, there remains the possibility that DACA’s reinstitution may be short-lived, as a federal judge in Texas will rule on the program’s constitutionality before the year is up. CBS News reports, “Judge Andrew Hanen, who has previously said DACA is likely illegal, has scheduled a hearing on this case for December 22.” Should Judge Hanen rule against DACA, then SCOTUS will likely and finally have to rule on the constitutionality of the program itself. And, hopefully, given the current conservative makeup of the Court, even Chief Justice John Roberts won’t be able to save yet another unconstitutional power grab.

DACA’s merits (or lack thereof) is actually not the primary issue here. Rather, it’s the manner in which Obama blatantly acted to circumvent Congress and the Constitution to issue an executive order that effectively legislated a new immigration law. Initially, it was a move that he himself repeatedly and correctly declared was beyond his constitutional authority. That wrong needs to be righted, irrespective of the larger illegal immigration issue.

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