Immigration Activists Praise DACA Ruling, but Say More Needs to Be Done

After a federal judge ruled against the Trump administration’s decision to end an Obama-era program for young immigrants, local activists said it’s good news — but doesn’t go far enough.

“We are happy that the judge is fighting back on this racially-biased anti-immigrant agenda,” said Ana, a DACA recipient and organizer for Hope CommUnity Center in Apopka, “but there is still so much work we need to do for all immigrants, like TPS, asylees, refugees, and undocumented communities.”

She declined to give her full name to protect her identity.

President Donald Trump ended the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program — which gives a form of reprieve for eligible immigrants who were brought to the country illegally as children — in September 2017. Efforts to revive it in Congress have since failed.

Judge John D. Bates said in his ruling on Tuesday that ending the program was “arbitrary and capricious because the Department failed to adequately to explain its conclusion that the program was unlawful.”

The administration has 90 days to explain its decision, and the Department of Homeland Security must resume accepting new DACA applications and processing renewals, according to the judge’s decision.

A spokesperson for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, an arm of DHS, said Tuesday the Department of Homeland Security was still reviewing the court order.

Elizabeth Riebel, director of immigration services at Hope CommUnity Center, said the organization is still waiting for word from USCIS on how it will process new applications in 90 days.

While the program’s future has been uncertain for months, Riebel said interest in the program hasn’t dropped.

“We have people who are thinking of applying, I’m pretty sure they will be excited,” she said.

She said the center already had about 15 potential new DACA applicants in five Central Florida counties that had expressed interest in the program. The center, which offers training sessions on immigrant rights and provides help with DACA renewal applications, has processed over 30 renewals this year, Riebel said.

“There are people with expiration dates in January and they’re already making appointments,” she said.


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