Ending DACA Blocked by Second Federal Judge, Congress Still to Find Replacement Program

Immigration march

This afternoon, Tuesday, February 13th, 2018, Judge Nicholas Garaufis of the US District Court for the Eastern District of New York granted a preliminary injunction, blocking the recent memo ordering DACA (Deferred Action for Children Arrivals) program to be rescinded. This order came amidst an ongoing battle between the US Department of Justice (DOJ) and United State Federal courts. For information on this, see my post from January 19th, 2018.

Congress, however, still needs to come up with a plan for DACA’s future. Last week, Congress avoided another government shutdown by passing a bipartisan budget bill. This budget bill did not include any funding for DACA. Democrats received a non-binding promise from the Republicans before voting on the bill to vote on DACA’s funding later on.

While DACA’s future remains uncertain, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has made it clear that in the meantime, any illegal immigrant within the US, criminal or non-criminal, can and will be the target of arrest and possible deportation. The ICE has stated their intent to target any individual or population within the US, making a record number 31,888 non-criminal arrests between January 20th and September 30th of last year.

This increase in non-criminal arrests of possible illegal immigrants poses a huge risk to people’s civil liberties, given the ICE’s jurisdiction of 100 miles from the US border with Mexico and Canada. With no thousands of arrests being made without the individual having any prior criminal charges, convictions, or even arrests, it is alarming as to what information the ICE is using for them to even come on their radar in the first place.

Groups like the American Civil Liberties Association have challenged and continue to challenge the methods used by the ICE to make arrests. For instance, the targeting of individuals with pending residency status. Although acting within their authority, it is uncertain as to what objective the ICE hopes to accomplish by incorporating so many non-criminal arrests into their agenda. This has placed a double-bind on Congress and the DOJ.

While Congress votes on funding and while the US Supreme Court considers the constitutionality of the federal court appeals, the ICE can and will arrest individuals who were brought in to the US as children. Hopefully, Congress and the Supreme Court will be acting fast, so as to settle the legal purgatory thousands of immigrants in the US are currently living in.
This blog post was written by a CCLA-PBSC RightsWatch student. Views expressed do not necessarily reflect the views of the CCLA or PBSC

About the Author

Nathan Prendergast
Nathan is a second year in the JD program at the University of Windsor Faculty of Law.