Judge orders Trump to reinstate Obama’s ‘Dreamers’ programme

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A federal judge on Friday ordered the outgoing Trump administration to fully reinstate the Obama-era ‘Dreamers‘ programme

US district judge Nicholas Garaufis ordered the government to begin advertising the scheme within days, a decision that is likely to rile the outgoing president as he heads for the White House exit door.

The ‘Dreamers’ programme – or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) – is a policy introduced by former President Barack Obama in 2012.  

It provides some immigrants who were brought to the US as children the legal right to work and remain. DACA is said to have helped around 800,000 Dreamers who met its strict eligibility criteria.

In September 2017, less than a year after assuming office, Mr Trump announced that he was terminating DACA, plunging the future of thousands of immigrants enrolled on the scheme into uncertainty.

Throughout the intervening years, he and his Republican colleagues repeatedly attacked the programme, using anti-immigrant rhetoric to claim all those in the country illegally are criminals.

But Mr Garaufis, a judge on the district court in Brooklyn, has ordered the White House to allow newly eligible immigrants to make applications.

That decision overturned a memorandum issued in the summer by the acting secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Chad Wolf, which banned new DACA applicants and reduced how long renewals were valid, from two years down to one year.

Friday’s ruling comes less than a month after the same judge ruled that Mr Wolf had not been appointed to his position lawfully.

Judge Garaufis said the government had to post a public notice within three days — including on its website and the websites of all other relevant government agencies — that new DACA applications were being accepted.

He also ordered the Trump administration to put together a status report on the DACA programme by 4 January.

“Every time the outgoing administration tried to use young immigrants as political scapegoats, they defiled the values of our nation. The court’s order makes clear that fairness, inclusion, and compassion matter,” said New York state attorney general Letitia James, who led a number of state attorneys general in one of the lawsuits against the administration.

“Dreamers have fought so hard for justice.  It’s time to do the right thing,” Jennifer Molina, a spokesperson for president-elect Joe Biden’s transition team, said on Friday.  

“On day one, president-elect Biden will ensure Dreamers and their families have the opportunity to live their lives free of fear and continue to contribute to our country.”

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