Days after a federal judge in California temporarily blocked President Donald Trump’s efforts to pull the plug on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, the federal government said on Saturday that it would resume accepting renewal applications for the program “until further notice.”
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services said in a statement on its website that DACA will be “operated on the terms in place before it was rescinded on Sept. 5, 2017.” That was the date on which Trump announced his decision to terminate the Obama-era program that shielded some 700,000 young undocumented immigrants from deportation.
“Due to a federal court order, USCIS has resumed accepting requests to renew a grant of deferred action under DACA,” the agency said.
Renewal applications will, however, only be accepted from people who previously received DACA and whose deferred action had expired on or after Sept. 5, 2016.
Former DACA recipients whose grant expired before that date cannot request a renewal, but they can file a new request, the agency said. No new applicants will be accepted.
Marielena Hincapié, executive director of the National Immigration Law Center, warned on Saturday that the window for renewal applications may be “short.” She urged those eligible for renewal to prepare their applications promptly.
The USCIS announcement comes on the heels of U.S. District Judge William Alsup’s issuance on Tuesday of a nationwide injunction blocking the Trump administration’s effort to rescind the program.
Alsup ruled that the federal government must “maintain [DACA] on a nationwide basis” while legal challenges to ending the program proceed in court.
“Plaintiffs have clearly demonstrated that they are likely to suffer serious irreparable harm absent an injunction,” Alsup wrote in an opinion explaining the injunction. “Before DACA, Individual Plaintiffs, brought to America as children, faced a tough set of life and career choices turning on the comparative probabilities of being deported versus remaining here. DACA gave them a more tolerable set of choices, including joining the mainstream workforce.”
Alsup’s ruling provoked the wrath of Trump, who blasted the “court system” as “broken and unfair” in a Wednesday tweet.