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Feds resume accepting renewals from Dreamers

16 Jan

By Josh Gerstein, Politico

The Trump administration announced Saturday that it is complying with a federal court order by again allowing so-called Dreamers to renew the quasi-legal status and work permits they have enjoyed under a program that started in 2012.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, a division of the Department of Homeland Security, posted an update on its website Saturday evening saying that the renewal process for recipients of Deferred Actions for Childhood Arrivals status will resume effective immediately, despite the administration’s announcement in September that it was winding down the Obama-era initiative.

“Due to a federal court order, USCIS has resumed accepting requests to renew a grant of deferred action under DACA,” the announcement said.

On Tuesday, U.S. District Court Judge William Alsup issued a preliminary injunction effectively blocking the decision to end the program. The judge, who is based in San Francisco, said Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ conclusion that DACA was illegal was “based on a flawed legal premise.”

President Donald Trump slammed the decision on Twitter on Wednesday, suggesting it was part of a pattern of anti-administration rulings from judges in the West.

“It just shows everyone how broken and unfair our Court System is when the opposing side in a case (such as DACA) always runs to the 9th Circuit and almost always wins before being reversed by higher courts,” Trump wrote.

Alsup issued another ruling in the dispute Friday, saying plaintiffs in some of the five suits he is overseeing can proceed with legal claims that the cancellation of the program was driven by racism Trump expressed on the campaign trail in 2016.

Despite Trump’s complaints about the judge’s order, the Justice Department has yet to file an appeal or request a stay of the four-day-old injunction.

USCIS had no immediate comment beyond the post. Spokespeople for the Justice Department and the Department of Homeland Security did not immediately respond to questions about Saturday’s announcement.

Some immigrant-rights advocates urged those eligible to renew their DACA status to move quickly.

“Use this weekend to get well-informed re requirements & prepare your renewal #DACA application. Remember new applicants aren’t eligible,” Marielena Hincapie of the National Immigration Law Center wrote Saturday night on Twitter. “This might also be a short window to file #DACA renewals given feds are likely to appeal.”

Trump has said he supports legislation to allow so-called Dreamers to remain in the U.S. legally, but he has insisted that such a bill include funding to expand the wall along the U.S. border with Mexico and to rein in laws that allow U.S. citizens and legal residents to petition for legal status for their relatives overseas.

Trump has held at least two meetings with legislators in the past week to discuss potential DACA legislation, but at the moment the talks appear to be at an impasse.

“I don’t believe the Democrats really want to see a deal on DACA. They are all talk and no action,” the president wrote on Twitter on Saturday morning. “This is the time but, day by day, they are blowing the one great opportunity they have. Too bad!”