April 24, 2018

A D.C. federal court Tuesday ruled that the Trump administration’s plan to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program was unlawful and must be set aside, requiring the government to accept new applicants.

U.S. District Judge John D. Bates partially granted the motion for summary judgment from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and several unions, along with Microsoft Corp. and Princeton University, as to their substantive Administrative Procedure Act claim, but allowed the U.S. Department of Homeland Security 90 days to better explain its view that DACA is unlawful.

Judge Bates rejected the government’s argument that the Immigration and Nationality Act deprives the court of subject-matter jurisdiction and that the decision to nix DACA can’t be reviewed under the APA.

“The court further concludes that, under the APA, DACA’s rescission was arbitrary and capricious because the department failed adequately to explain its conclusion that the program was unlawful,” the judge said. “Neither the meager legal reasoning nor the assessment of litigation risk provided by DHS to support its rescission decision is sufficient to sustain termination of the DACA program.”

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“Dr. King was right when he said that the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice,” NAACP President and CEO Derrick Johnson said in a release. “Our nation made a promise to protect undocumented young immigrant and this administration attempted to renege on that promise, but justice prevailed.”

The NAACP, the American Federation of Teachers and the AFL-CIO are represented by Joseph M. Sellers of Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll PLLC.