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A third federal judge has issued an injunction preventing the elimination of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

This latest decision, delivered April 24 by D.C. District Court Judge John Bates, ruled that DACA’s rescission was arbitrary and capricious because the Department of Homeland Security “failed adequately to explain its conclusion that the program was unlawful…” DACA was originally slated for elimination based on orders from the Trump administration in September of last year.

While similar to the previous rulings by district courts in California and New York that halted DACA’s scheduled elimination, Bates’ ruling went further by ordering the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to develop a better explanation for DACA’s elimination within 90 days or restore the program entirely. Under the previous injunctions, DHS is currently processing DACA renewal requests but is not reviewing any new DACA applications. Bates’ order would require DHS to resume processing new applications as well if a firmer legal basis for the program’s elimination is not offered within the allotted time.

Earlier this year, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to weigh in prematurely on the legality of DACA’s elimination, stating it would wait until lower appellate courts had reviewed the cases. Higher education has played a significant role in the legal fight to preserve DACA, with the University of California system as a party in the California case and Princeton University as a plaintiff in this decision. A fourth decision from a Maryland district court found the government’s actions to be permissible.

Earlier this month, NACUBO joined more than 30 other higher education associations in a letter to DHS Secretary Kristjen Nielsen, urging the department to review and process DACA renewals in a timely manner.


Liz Clark

Vice President, Policy and Research


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Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)