Federal Judge Nicholas Garaufis’ ruling finding unlawfully appointed acting Department of Homeland Security Sec. Chad Wolf didn’t have the authority to continue limiting the program and subsequent order to reopen it by Monday was a cautious victory for young immigrants watching the case. That’s because Trump administration officials have now spent nearly six months ignoring the Supreme Court’s June decision finding the Trump administration unlawfully ended the program.
“There was hope. Joy,” Grisell Mendoza told Miami Herald. But also skepticism, she said. What if officials continued their shameless lawlessness?
But on Monday, it actually happened. Not only had DACA been reopened to new applicants, but also work permits and deportation deferrals shortened by Unlawful Chad from two years to one year went back to two years, and beneficiaries were once again allowed to apply for permission to travel internationally in certain cases. “I was very happy and excited because some of our plaintiffs are going to get a sense of relief,” Batalla Vidal v. Wolf plaintiff Carolina Fung Feng told Bloomberg CityLab.
“On Monday, the first day to file DACA applications, immigration policy experts and attorneys scrambled to contact eligible immigrants to help them apply,” Miami Herald continued. In Florida, a state currently home to more than 25,000 DACA recipients, program beneficiary Juan Escalante told the outlet that what’s “important is for new DACA recipients to take advantage of this new development, and use the opportunity to obtain deportation protections, a work permit and the ability to drive.”
The Appeal reported in the weeks following the Supreme Court’s order that hundreds of thousands of new applicants may be eligible. “About 300,000 are first-time applicants, according to the Center for American Progress, and 55,000 of those have turned 15—the minimum age to apply—since the program was terminated.” Many are recent high school graduates or approaching that age but are instead watching their classmates and friends with legal status be able to access post high school work or higher educational opportunities.
But this isn’t to say that fears are being completely alleviated by Garaufis’ ruling. Like I’ve previously noted, while the administration reluctantly complied with the order, it’s left challenging it a possibility. And, the program will face yet another court challenge at the end of this month in the courtroom of Texas Judge Andrew Hanen. “That’s why I’m scared to put my faith in Friday’s ruling. Though it’s a victory, I’m praying that I don’t get my heart broken again,” Mendoza continued to Miami Herald. “Like so many across the country, I’m preparing to file my application ASAP, but I’m also petrified to be let down.”
The fight to protect undocumented youth isn’t over. While we continue pushing President-elect Joe Biden to stick to his pledge to use executive authority to protect undocumented youth and their families, let’s also make sure we’re doing all we can to get as many young people protected by DACA as possible.
Daily Kos has supported United We Dream for the past three years to help them raise funds to cover the expensive fees to apply for DACA protections. Through this fund, United We Dream has helped thousands of young, undocumented immigrants who were brought here as children renew their DACA protections. They could use our help once again. Click here to chip in.