The federal government, citing a recent court order, said Saturday that it will resume renewing grants of deferred action under the DACA, or “dreamers,” program, which has protected hundreds of thousands of young people from deportation.
The Trump administration announced in September that it would stop renewing work permits for the young undocumented immigrants starting in March, insisting that it was for Congress to find a solution to the issue of their status.
President Obama created the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program in 2012 to protect those without documentation who were brought here as children. The Trump administration had called it an egregious example of executive overreach.
But last week, a federal judge in San Francisco said the nearly 690,000 DACA recipients must retain their work permits and their protection from deportation while a lawsuit moves forward. That suit challenges the decision to end the program.
The White House and Congress have been engaged in intense and volatile negotiations over legislation that would allow DACA recipients to stay in this country permanently, with immigration hardliners pushing for any deal to include reductions in other types of immigration and immigrant advocates calling such a crackdown unacceptable.
Early Sunday, President Trump said on Twitter, “DACA is probably dead because the Democrats don’t really want it, they just want to talk and take desperately needed money away from our Military.”
The statement issued Saturday by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services said those previously granted deferred action under DACA may request renewal by filing the proper forms.
“Until further notice, and unless otherwise provided in this guidance, the DACA policy will be operated on the terms in place before it was rescinded on Sept. 5, 2017,” a USCIS statement said.
USCIS said it was not accepting requests from those who had never been given deferred action under DACA.
The Trump administration has 60 days to appeal the temporary injunction by U.S. District Judge William Alsup, which prohibits the government from phasing out the program while a lawsuit filed by California and other states in pending.
After the ruling, federal officials said they intend to continue their fight.
Early Sunday, the immigrant advocacy group CASA said its legal department would resume helping DACA prepare renewal applications starting Monday.
“We don’t know how this will play out in the next couple of weeks, but we are glad USCIS is ready to follow the rule of law and we are getting to work as soon as possible,” said CASA’s Executive Director Gustavo Torres.
Torres also called on Congress to pass a law that would replace DACA and allow its recipients to stay. He said Trump’s reported denigration of immigrants from Haiti, El Salvador and African nation’s last week underscores the importance of lawmakers finding a permanent solution for those brought here as children.
“We are more convinced than ever that [Trump’s] immigration reforms are a manifestation of his racists views,” Torres said. “It is now up to Congress do the right thing and pass [a] clean Dream Act now.”
Maria Sacchetti contributed to this report.