So once again, we’ve woken up to breaking news about the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA program. The program grants protections, such as the ability to work and live in the country, to almost 800,000 immigrants brought to the U.S. as children.
Late last night, a federal judge in California ruled that the Trump Administration acted illegally when it announced back in September that the program would be phased out by March 5th.
So what does that all mean for Dreamers who depend on DACA to live, work, and go to school?
On the one hand, it means that people who have previously had DACA can once again apply to renew their protections — a decision that affects about 22,000 people who have already lost DACA protections since September or were set to lose them by the old March 5 deadline. But it doesn’t go so far as to allow new applicants to the program. If Congress doesn’t act (which may happen in the next week) to find a more permanent solution, it’s likely that Dreamers’ fates will be subject to the same legal back-and-forth they’ve seen in the past.
That uncertainty, many Dreamers report, can be hard to live with.
So yes, this injunction is important news. But if immigration reform is something you care deeply about, don’t get too comfortable. This court ruling is kind of like hitting a policy snooze button. After a legal battle, which President Trump has already hinted he intends to continue, the DACA program may face another phase out. That is unless Congress decides to take action to make the program more permanent.