Judge orders reopening of DACA, after 90-day delay

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He said that if the department did not come up with a better defense for ending the program, Daca would be restored in 90 days.

The court gave the Trump administration 90 days to challenge the ruling before reinstating DACA in its entirety. Bates' ruling is unique, however, because it opens the possibility that U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services might have to start accepting new DACA applications.

The U.S. Supreme Court announced in February that it wouldn't immediately take up President Trump's appeal of a lower-court opinion keeping the DACA programs in place.

Alsup said the challengers were likely to succeed by claiming that the Trump administration's decision to end the program was "arbitrary and capricious" and based on a flawed legal premise.

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"Today's order doesn't change the Department of Justice's position on the facts: DACA was implemented unilaterally after Congress declined to extend benefits to this same group of illegal aliens", spokesman Devin O'Malley said in a statement. "DACA's rescission will therefore be set aside", Bates wrote.

In response to the ruling, the Justice Department said it stands by its original reasoning, calling DACA an "unlawful circumvention of Congress", and that it intends to continue making its case to the courts. "Promoting and enforcing the rule of law is vital to protecting a nation, its borders, and its citizens".

The program was unilaterally created by Barack Obama in 2012, offering renewable two-year work permits to young undocumented immigrants, the majority of whom were brought to the United States as children.

As of the most recent numbers through March 31, 693,850 people were protected by DACA.

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That case could end up setting precedent for how judges view DACA, sanctuary cities and a host of other major immigration cases winding their way through the courts.

In September, the administration defended ending the program by saying it was likely to fall in the courts anyway, arguing a six-month wind-down of the program would be more orderly than a sudden end brought by the courts.

In a scathing 60-page ruling, Judge John Bates of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbiawrote that administration moves to cancel DACA were "arbitrary" and "capricious" because DHS "failed adequately to explain its conclusion the program was unlawful".

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