Judge Changes Mind on Full DACA Restart

The Trump administration’s battle over the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) amnesty program was awarded a small victory last week when a federal judge ruled that the administration is not — as previously instructed — required to begin processing new DACA applications.

To recap, in April, Judge John D. Bates of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia called the government’s decision to end DACA “virtually unexplained” and therefore “unlawful.” In a shocking decision, Bates determined that the administration must not only continue to allow the so-called “dreamers” to apply for renewal, but that it must also begin to accept new applications. To give the government an opportunity to provide additional reasoning for ending the program, he stayed the ruling for 90 days.

At the end of the 90 days, Judge Bates determined that the administration still had not demonstrated sufficient reasoning for winding down the program, and ordered the government to officially restart the DACA program on August 23 for both current and new applicants. Attorney General Jeff Sessions vowed to appeal, but with the deadline looming, it seemed the program was set to begin again.

Then, in new court papers filed by the Justice Department last week, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) said that if they are forced to restart the DACA program completely, it would slow down approval for legal immigrants seeking admission to the U.S. The agency also predicted a surge of some 50,000 new DACA applications from illegal aliens who were eligible for the program but were prevented from enrolling after the administration rescinded it last year.

The argument appears to have resonated with Judge Bates. By the end of the week, the George W. Bush appointee said that the government, after all, does not have to begin accepting new applications. Recognizing the reality that a full restart would overwhelm USCIS, Judge Bates ruled that the administration must keep processing renewals for people already participating in the DACA program—as it is currently required to do by other court rulings. However, Bates decided to stay the portion of his ruling also requiring the administration to process new applications.

About Author


Heather Ham-Warren joined FAIR’s Government Relations department in 2018. In her role, Heather advocates for FAIR’s interests before Congress, the Administration, and federal agencies. She also reviews and analyzes federal legislation and regulations, as well as conducts research on a wide variety of legal and immigration-related topics. Heather brings with her several years of political and legislative experience having worked for legislatures at the both the state and federal levels. She began her career in D.C. working on Capitol Hill—most recently serving as Legislative Director for a Florida Republican on the House Judiciary Committee. Heather holds a Bachelor of Arts in History from the University of Florida and a Juris Doctor from the Florida State University College of Law.


  1. avatar
    Veronica M Reimann on

    Since when has a single judge the authority to make a decision for the rest of the American citizens.
    Since when did we past a law that gave an illegal foreign invader any preference no matter what their age over an American citizen
    In some cases these minors that have arrive with their so called parents may not be their minor children.
    They could have been kidnapped or even sold to these people so that the silly soft American will allow them to stay.
    It is another mess that Obama caused
    Even those who have evaded the law for many years not matter their age now need to be deported. Do not tell me they do not have any relatives in the country of their birth. I immigrated to the USA from Europe 62 yrs. ago legally & became a American citizen in 1960. I did it the right way so do not insult me by making excuses.. I still have a great many family still in the UK

  2. avatar

    Since when do federal judges develop their own laws? They need to be struck down there supposed to enforce the law not write the law.

  3. avatar

    Wait Until “True” Facts Come In You Dummies

    The MSM shoots at the hip with Fake News ASAP [against Trump immigration agenda]] before they know what they’re doing….

  4. avatar

    DACA seems to be a kernel switch to our national solidarity.
    If the legalization does not come out at the earliest time, everything would mess up together to be clogged down on our national agenda.
    Congress must be aware that DACA beneficiaries are presently one of the key components in our labor system.
    As a U.S. citizen, I believe we must set the young guys free.

  5. avatar

    Pity that a ruling in favor of the LAW passed by Congress had to come virtually by accident. The behavior of this chucklehead on the bench makes it abundantly clear that he thinks the other two branches of government are subordinate to the judiciary. Why does an executive branch agency have to ‘explain’ anything it does to a tyrant wearing a black robe? Barry Hussein Soetoro issued an ‘executive order.’ Trump later issued an order canceling Barry’s unconstitutional amnesty. End of story.

  6. avatar

    The DACA eligible recipients have decided that they have veto power over which program would be passed. Most say they will not accept the status if it will include other things like ending chain migration. Just one more reason not to even bother. They don’t get to choose. American citizens do.

    • avatar
      William F. Reade, Jr. on

      It is apparent that Judges wont accept there are three branches of government and a Supreme law in this country. Article VI Clause 2 treaties with other countries must be respected as we expect them to honor ours. If we do not then John McCain is a Panamanian; Mitt Romney is a Mexican; Ted Cruz is Canadian ad infinitum. If we believe that the place a person is born then we have to accept any child born of American Parents in a foreign country is not American but a Citizen of the nation in which they were born. Check out Article VI. Then the citizenship laws of the other nations and the In accordance with The Supremacy Clause found in Article 6 and is clause 2 within the U.S. Constitution. This clause states that the U.S. Constitution along with U.S. treaties and federal statutes make up the supreme law of the land.
      Article 1
      It is for each State to determine under its own law who are its nationals. This law shall be recognised by other States in so far as it is consistent with international conventions, international custom, and the principles of law generally recognised with regard to nationality. I am a lawfully naturalized citizen, and I demand “Equal Treatment” under the Law!!!

      Article 2
      Any question as to whether a person possesses the nationality of a particular State shall be determined in accordance with the law of that State.