The Trump administration said Monday that it fully restored the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program that shields hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants from deportation, complying with a federal judge’s order.
The Department of Homeland Security posted on its website that it is accepting new applications, petitions for two-year renewals and requests for permission to temporarily leave the U.S.
The department said it “may seek relief from the order,” suggesting that its concession to the court order may be short-lived if its legal efforts succeed.
President Donald Trump ended DACA in September 2017, arguing that the program is unconstitutional.
After the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in June that Trump violated federal law in how he ended the program, Chad Wolf, the acting Homeland Security secretary, said the administration would study its options and, until then, wouldn’t accept new applications and would grant renewals for one year instead two.
DACA protects about 650,000 illegal aliens from deportation and makes them eligible for work permits.
Monday’s announcement came hours before a deadline set by District Judge Nicholas Garaufis in the Eastern District of New York for the administration to post public notice that it would accept applications.
The program was started in 2012 during the Obama administration. It allows certain immigrants who were brought to the country illegally as children to work and be exempt from deportation, though it does not confer legal status on recipients.
Joe Biden has pledged to reinstate DACA, but permanent legal status and a path to citizenship would require congressional approval.
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