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Federal Judge Blocks Trump from Rescinding Obama's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program

Citing Trump's "flawed legal premise," a federal court temporarily stops the administration from ending DACA.

Gage Skidmore / Flickr.comGage Skidmore / Flickr.comA federal judge has temporarily blocked President Donald Trump from rescinding the Obama administration's 2012 program known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA.

According to Tuesday's ruling by Judge William Alsup of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California in Regents of the University of California v. Department of Homeland Security, the legal challengers "have shown a likelihood of success on their claim that the rescission [of DACA] was arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion, or not otherwise in accordance with law." Judge Alsup therefore temporarily enjoined the federal government from ending DACA while this legal challenge proceeds on the merits in federal court.

The Trump administration rescinded DACA in 2017 on the grounds that the program was an unlawful intrusion on Congress's authority to regulate immigration. In the words of Attorney General Jeff Sessions, the Obama administration created DACA "without proper statutory authority and with no established end-date, after Congress' repeated rejection of proposed legislation that would have accomplished a similar result." That made DACA, in Sessions' words, an "unconstitutional exercise of authority by the Executive Branch."

In yesterday's ruling, Judge Alsop turned the rhetorical tables by charging the Trump administration with overstepping its lawful powers. The decision to end DACA, Judge Alsop wrote, "was based on the flawed legal premise that the [executive branch] lacked authority to implement DACA....This order holds that DACA fell within the [executive's] enforcement authority. The contrary conclusion was flawed and should be set aside."

In other words, Judge Alsop has endorsed the Obama administration's view of executive power in the context of DACA and rejected the Trump administration's competing view.

The Trump administration has already signaled its intentions to appeal this loss. "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 tweeted.

Whatever happens next, yesterday's ruling will not be the final word on the matter.

The decision in Regents of the University of California v. Department of Homeland Security is available here.

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  • Jerryskids||

    So we've established that the President had broad discretionary powers as it relates to immigration prior to 2017 but now he has no powers at all? So like if Trump were to order up an EACA policy (Expedited Action for Childhood Arrivals) this would clearly be an abuse of his power?

  • reasonator||

    What I understood was the rescinding was premised on "the executive wasn't allowed to do this". That premise was declared faulty, thus leaving no premise in effect--thus rendering the action arbitrary. When people are hurt by an arbitrary action, courts seem not to like it--it's preferable for the action to be premised on some kind of valid (even if perfunctory) rationale.

    Trump administration would have chosen the premise they did because the alternative premise would end up getting processed by the courts the same way the muslim bans did into an actual premise of "we don't like brown people" which is not taken to be a valid rationale.

  • BambiB||

    And yet the people being "hurt" are those with no rights. (See US v. Verdugo-Urquidez) whose very presence is a crime.

    I don't care what Trump's personal reason for action is - my reason is to remove criminals from America. Criminal aliens are a huge expense, and I'm not happy about criminals stealing my tax dollars. Even at $1 a round, it's much cheaper to just shoot the criminal invaders. And we should.

  • seahorsedan||

    Only completely Madison Avenue Globalist indoctrinated sick people can preach all the liberal, self-righteous hogwash and support international child stealing for corporate welfare through indentured servitude at the same time. The children of the world never belonged to Obama or the U.S.A.
    Google child stealing . Think about a child of yours wandering or being enticed into a wealthy neighborhood. Can the rich folks just keep your kid? What if the little tyke is presented with a few trinkets, develops Stockholm syndrome and wants to stay with the rich folks and grow up to be their gardener if he promises never to return home? Is that really a scheme you approve of? That's DACA in a nutshell. You gotta have a lotta nerve to utter the word integrity and defend that scheme let alone endorse it.

  • Calidissident||

    As I think everyone here knows, I'm not an immigration hawk, and supportive of the goal of letting people on DACA stay in the US.

    That said, the legal reasoning here makes no sense. If the executive had the power to implement DACA, why does the executive not have the power to end it? The logic seems to basically mandate that the executive do anything that it doesn't think it has the power to do, but actually does (according to a court).

  • A Cynic's Guide to Zen||

    Dude. 9th Circuit can't into logic.

    They are Feels people.

  • Tony||

    the legal challengers "have shown a likelihood of success on their claim that the rescission [of DACA] was arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion, or not otherwise in accordance with law." Judge Alsup therefore temporarily enjoined the federal government from ending DACA while this legal challenge proceeds on the merits in federal court.
  • DesigNate||

    None of which makes one iota of difference when the executive uses his pen and phone.

    Live by executive fiat, die by executive fiat.

  • Tony||

    At least the court found a way to temporarily protect people from needless suffering at the hands of a capricious and moronic tyrant...

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Obama is not president anymore so that tyrant is gone.

  • Tony||

    Does a vague whiff of garlic seem to follow you everywhere? Because your brain is pickled, son.

  • Leader Desslok||

    Because your brain is pickled, son.

    But enough about you.

  • Tionico||

    as is the Moron in Chief.

  • IceTrey||

    They broke the law their suffering is needful.

  • Malvolio||

    That's called "cutting down the Law to get at the Devil".

  • BambiB||

    Actually, all the judge did was enter into a criminal conspiracy in violation of 8 USC §1324. He should be charged, prosecuted, convicted, disbarred, fined and jailed for a minimum of 10 years per DACA participant.

  • Calidissident||

    I honestly don't see that reasoning holding up at higher court levels. Trying to argue that one president has the power to implement a certain action via executive order, but his successor doesn't have the power to rescind said action is going to require some impressive mental gymnastics. And again, I am not biased here in favor of seeing these people lose status and get deported, but precisely the opposite.

  • BYODB||

    Indeed. It creates a situation were the judiciary are actually in control of every branch of government which is not at all ideal.

  • Tionico||

    nor consistent with reality, and not even the Constitution.

    That document plainly assigns to Congress full authority to set in place the laws relating to foreigners becoming citizens. Congress did not "enact" the kinyun's fantasy project. Therefore it is not law at all.

    Trump should simply thumb his nose at this insane judge and carry on as if DACA had never been declared the law of the land, because the Congress did not enact this as law, and since COngress have ALL legislative authority in such matters, specifically named, the act/law/EO is null, void, of no effect, in the first place. Best thing Trump could do would be to carry on as if that EO from the kinyun had never been written. It cetainly has no force of law.

  • Unlabelable MJGreen||

    The claim, as I understand it, is that the executive's justification for the EO is faulty, which combined with the complaints of the various lawsuits is strong enough to warrant blocking implementation until a decision is made.

    There are some whoppers in the ruling that my little mind take as glaring contradictions. The original DACA memo says that no substantive right has been granted to eligible recipients, but DACA also set up such a substantial government program and assurance that those affected now have liberty and property interests in its continued operation. And that program sure does sound like something Congress needs to establish, doesn't it?

  • Robert||

    Because the original executive order stated reasons which now, being on the record, are taken as fact, so it's "arbitrary & capricious" to contadict them. It's like whoever acts 1st gets to make the rules.

  • BambiB||

    Trump should declare the judge an enemy combatant and ship him off to Guantanamo. Let him make his "rulings" from there.

  • SimonD||

    Well, it will almost certainly hold for at least one more level, since that next level is the 9th circuit.

    Beyond that, it's hard to tell exactly what our robed masters in D.C. will do on any issue. However, it's usually a good bet that it will rule in whatever way gives the powerful more power (given that government is the most powerful entity)

  • A Cynic's Guide to Zen||

    I can't wait for Judge Alsop's re-election year...

    Wait a minute...

  • Unlabelable MJGreen||

    So... beyond appealing it, they could just reissue the EO without reference to the legality of the 2012 EO, couldn't they? The whole thing reads like a weak delaying tactic that won't actually delay anything, since DACA still hasn't been ended (and Trump will delay implementation anyway if Congress can't get a bill passed before then).

  • Bacon-Magic glib reasonoid||

    9th Circuit Court reversal rate as reported by Politifact(ha ha): 79%.
    Retards just eating the cake.

  • RPGuy16||

    So because Trump is wrong and Obama had the right to implement DACA, Trump is prohibited from rescinding it? This is simply insane.

  • Rhywun||

    Principals, not principles.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Team lefty is seriously upset Trump is rolling back their policies created with a pen and cell phone.

  • Kivlor||

    So because Trump is literally Hitler and Obama had the right to implement DACA, Trump is prohibited from sending these poor souls to his death camps

    fixed that for you

  • BYODB||


    In other words, Judge Alsop has endorsed the Obama administration's view of executive power in the context of DACA and rejected the Trump administration's competing view.


    No, in other words the Judge is saying that the President has the power to create a thing that future Presidents can not undo because of...magical feels reasons. This is a bad joke, and ludicrous at face value.

  • Unlabelable MJGreen||

    No, he's not.

  • BYODB||

    If something is created by EO it can simply be undone by another EO regardless of whatever reasoning might be attached. The White House could have said 'because we said so' and that would have been a 'valid' reason.

  • BYODB||

    An 'abuse of discretion' is hilarious when you think about it. It's almost literally the judge saying 'yeah, you can do whatever you want but you must be nice about it'. So, yes, ludicrous. You'd think the EO's involving killing would be an abuse of discretion but I guess not huh.

  • Unlabelable MJGreen||

    To be clear, that's one clause of the applicable law and does not look to be the operative clause here.

    Plaintiffs have shown a likelihood of success on their claim that the rescission was arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion, or not otherwise in accordance with law. Specifically, plaintiffs are likely to succeed on their claims that: (1) the agency's decision to rescind DACA was based on a flawed legal premise; and (2) government counsel's supposed "litigation risk" rationale is a post hoc rationalization and would be, in any event, arbitrary and capricious.
  • BYODB||

    Except that we're not discussing any law whatsoever, but rather an executive order. Does an executive order have a requirement to not be 'capricious' or be 'in accordance with the law' because if it does than DACA would be...what?

  • Unlabelable MJGreen||

    Congress has instructed our district courts to review and set aside agency action found to be "arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion, or otherwise not in accordance with law."
    5 U.S.C. § 706(2)(A).
  • Adam330||

    You need to go brush up on your admin law. You're making yourself look very dumb.

  • Adam330||

    There are no executive orders involved here. DACA wasn't set up using an executive order, and it wasn't rescinded using an executive order. It was set up by a memo from the DHS secretary and rescinded the same way.

  • Unlabelable MJGreen||

    But they didn't.

  • BYODB||

    They didn't what?

  • Unlabelable MJGreen||

    They didn't say, "because we said so." They provided a justification that this judge says is wrong.

    I think the argument is wrong (and humorously hypocritical), and there's obvious motivated reasoning behind the court's answer to this question, but the ruling does open with:

    All agree that a new administration is entitled to replace old policies with new policies so long as they comply with the law. One question presented in these related actions is whether the new administration terminated DACA based on a mistake of law rather than in compliance with the law.
  • BYODB||

    I don't think you understand my point, or you're intentionally misunderstanding. It doesn't matter what the justification was. They could have said 'Moon Alien's communicated with us telepathically and told us to issue this EO' and that would be sufficient reason.

    This judge is explicitly stating that the 'feels' of the EO outweigh it's legality. The legality of the EO isn't even in question by the statists because they let DACA fly in the first place.

  • chemjeff||

    "They could have said 'Moon Alien's communicated with us telepathically and told us to issue this EO' and that would be sufficient reason."

    No, they couldn't have.

    The President is not King. He does have to account to the courts, and to Congress, to justify what he's doing.

  • Tionico||

    President is tasked with executing the LAWS (the Constitution and all laws and treaties established in accordance with that document) of the United States

    Since xongress alone can pass laws relating to becoming citizens, and did not pass this whatever it is, it IS NOT LAW. Therefore President can't "enact it" (DACA) so it is not
    "law". And since it is not, the same or a different president can ignore it, as it is NOT amongst the laws of the United States with he is charged to execute.

  • Unlabelable MJGreen||

    You haven't read it - or if you have, you weren't processing anything - so stop trying to correct Damon or declare what the judge "explicitly" said. This is an Internet comment board, sir.

  • Adam330||

    It very much matters what the justification was. The focus of review under the APA is on the justification that the agency gives for its action. That's kind the whole point of the APA.

  • IceTrey||

    Is the POTUS an agency?

  • Adam330||

    Probably not, but it doesn't matter since this is action of the DHS secretary.

  • IceTrey||

    Not Obama's EO?

  • Adam330||

    What EO? There wasn't no EO for DACA.

  • IceTrey||

    Then how could Trump rescind it?

  • Adam330||

    He didn't. His DHS secretary issued a memo rescinding the memo from Obama's DHS secretary. If you think there's an EO, please go find it and cite it. They're all public.

  • BYODB||

    Fair points, thanks for the correction.

  • BambiB||

    Imagine if Congress operated that way.

    Initial Congress: "We passed a law."

    Subsequent Congress: "We'll repeal it!"

    Libtards: "You ca-a-a-a-an't! Judge says so!"

  • ||

    Sounds like:

    Obama got the red carpet treatment and Trump got that same carper pulled right from under him on this issue.

  • Bacon-Magic glib reasonoid||

    Carper? You Canuckis.

  • chemjeff||

    Okay, scanning the opinion anyway, it sounds like what the judge is saying is that Trump's rationale for ending DACA - that ICE didn't have the Congressional authority to implement DACA - is what constitutes the "flawed legal premise" since deferred action for deportations has been around for a long while now, certainly predating Obama's DACA, and even with Congressional blessing at some times. And if Trump's decision is based on a "flawed legal premise" then the action itself may be regarded as arbitrary and capricious. I don't think the judge is saying Trump is definitely wrong, only that he is saying that there is a nonzero chance Trump is wrong and so the plaintiffs should have their opportunity to make their case. At least that is how I see it, maybe some legal types can weigh in.

  • BYODB||

    What standing does an illegal immigrant have in an American court of law regarding American immigration law and/or Executive Orders? Can an citizen of India sue America, or the President specifically, for not letting them in?

    That would be interesting, for sure.

  • chemjeff||

    One of the plaintiffs is the UC system, not an illegal immigrant.

  • Long Woodchippers||

    UC - "We'll lose tuition revenue if you kick these people out"

  • Tionico||

    Now? They're mostly broke kids already getting public money, from some of what Ive read about current DACA listed folks. So maybe some pubic money might flow to the UC system to pay tuition of some of these Dreamers? Fine...... create a new class of targets for that public money to pay their tuitioin instead. Maybe, veterans?

  • Adam330||

    Apparently it's not a very interesting question. The DOJ conceded all of the DACA recipients had standing. It only challenged the standing of the other plaintiffs. But I'm sure you know more than the DOJ litigators.

  • Tionico||

    but DACA recipiets aren't suiing. Its the Uninvesity of California Board of Regents... NONE of whom have suffered any articulable harm other than in their feeeeeelzzzz

  • Unlabelable MJGreen||

    What's funny is that he's delaying the rescission on account of the likelihood of the challengers' claims holding up in court... which was the administration's rationale for rescinding DACA in the first place. They say they were convinced that the state challenges to DACA would succeed in court, and therefore they will preemptively end DACA.

    So the judge declares their evaluation as objectively wrong, but his evaluation is legit. That's the galling thing to me - the ruling is predicated on this court essentially speaking for the SC, making a judgment of how they would have ruled if challenges to DACA were allowed to proceed. It's like pointing to precedent that you just made up a few paragraphs earlier.

    Or I'm misunderstanding it.

  • chemjeff||

    I certainly don't claim to fully understand it myself!

  • Tionico||

    nor does this silly clown in his black nightie.......

  • Real American||

    So, per this senile judge, the president has unlimited authority to implement this program, but that same authority does not extend to his ability to end it? That makes zero sense.

  • Leader Desslok||

    It makes perfect sense when you view it though the lens of a statist. The power and scope of government only expands, never contracts.

  • Nuwanda||

    This.

    And it's self-serving. We see the GOP happy to keep many parts of Obamacare because they find it politically expedient to do so.

  • Martiandawn||

    The irony is that Trump's rescinding of DACA was the only thing that might push the Dems to deal with Republicans and get an actual Dream Act passed, thus providing a permanent solution for their precious Dreamers. If this court decision takes the pressure off the Dems, they will miss the opportunity to compromise and thus leave the Dreamers in limbo for another election cycle.

  • GeoffB1972||

    You act like drawing out the drama and leaving people in limbo as the pearls are clutched through another election cycle is a bug and not a feature.

  • zombietimeshare||

    The policy was officially established by a memorandum from the Secretary of Homeland Security titled "Exercising Prosecutorial Discretion with Respect to Individuals Who Came to the United States as Children".

    If this was created by memorandum why can't it be ended the same way?

  • Long Woodchippers||

    Authorizing work permits is not prosecutorial discretion, it's an affirmative action that contradicts law passed by Congress and signed by a previous president.

  • Kenrm||

    These liberal judges make me laugh. Obama issues an order without Congressional approval. Now Trump wants to rescind it, and some stupid judge thinks he can stop it? Is this judge just looking for 15 minutes of fame?

  • Tionico||

    So, what STANDING do the Regents of U Cal have on such matters? Can they show they have suffered any specific harm? Until they HAVE SUFFERED damage, they lack standing.

    This rogue "judge" needs to be taken out behind the woodshed and receive a strong application of the Board of Education.

  • Old Monkey||

    What other than practice of personal politics by fiat, can explain the judge's decision? A violation of his oath of office

  • jm15xy||

    What an idiot of a judge! If the president has the power to do, it also has the power to undo.

  • BambiB||

    This judge should be disbarred.

    If Obozo had the authority to create DACA, Trump has the power to kill it.

    More... since Congress never appropriated funds for it, at the very least Trump can kill all funding for it - including processing paperwork.

    The judge is a loon and should be put out of our misery.

  • AD-RtR/OS!||

    Alternate Headline:
    Federal Judge upholds Obama's unconstitutional writing of law by the Executive.

    This judge, like his counterparts in HI and elsewhere, needs to be removed from the bench.

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