A federal judge in San Francisco issued an order late yesterday to temporarily block the Trump administration's effort to phase out the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals
program created by the Obama administration.
The DACA program gives certain legal protections to undocumented immigrants who were brought to the country as children. Trump first moved to end the program in September with an end date of March 5, when around 800,000 young immigrants would lose eligibility for work permits and could face deportation if Congress doesn't intervene.
According to Department of Homeland Security data, there are an estimated 5,000 DACA recipients (often called "Dreamers") in Arkansas.
The White House said that the ruling from U.S. District Judge William Alsup
was "outrageous" and pledged to appeal.
With the potential for hundreds of thousands of Dreamers being subject to deportation now less than two months away, Trump met with lawmakers yesterday in a bizarre televised negotiation over possible solutions and potential next policy steps on immigration. Trump seemed to signal a willingness to deal with Democrats, but was so uninformed on the policy details that it's impossible to say (at one point, when he appeared to acquiesce to a Democratic suggestion of an immediate "clean" bill to codify and extend DACA, Republican lawmakers had to intervene and stop the confused president from agreeing to a path he ostensibly opposes). Lawmakers left the meeting telling reporters they had no idea where Trump stood.
Multiple lawsuits challenging Trump's plan to end DACA are pending across the country. If the Trump administration appeals Alsup's ruling, it could wind up in the Supreme Court, and it is uncertain how long a resolution would take. The legal tangle makes it unclear whether or not Trump's plan to end the program will proceed on time. If it does, Dreamers will have reason to fear the worst, as the potential for a timely solution from Congress remains murky — read Dara Lind at Vox
for a list of the many ways that a DACA deal could fall apart.