Update 12/8/22: The Biden administration has now appealed Judge Sullivan's ruling, backtracking yet again on their promises to protect asylum rights. While the outcome of the litigation is not yet clear, the administration's decision increases the odds that Title 42 will remain in effect past its currently-scheduled end date.

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UUSC Applauds Federal Court Order Mandating Trump Administration to Reinstate DACA, Allow for New Applications

Latest decision affirms rights of immigrants across the nation
Media Contact 
Michael Givens
Associate Director of Strategic Communications
Unitarian Universalist Service Committee
Phone: +1-857-540-0617
Email: mgivens@uusc.org

On Friday, December 4, Judge Nicholas Garaufis of the U.S. District Court in Brooklyn ordered the Trump administration to reinstate the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and begin allowing applications from immigrant youth eligible to be enrolled in the Obama-era plan to provide relief for undocumented minors. In response to today’s decision, Rev. Mary Katherine Morn, CEO and president of the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee, released the following statement:

“For the last three years, the Trump administration has held the DACA program hostage, denying a reported one million immigrant youth the opportunity to live freely and openly without fear of deportation. That’s three years of uncertainty and fear while the Trump administration continued a brutal assault on those exercising their right to migrate. The administration’s racist, xenophobic, and hostile campaign against immigrants of color has been dealt a fatal blow today, one that we hope will signal further dismantling of the utterly horrific and regressive policies implemented over the last four years.

“We applaud Judge Garaufis’ decision and we strongly urge the Trump administration to post the public notice reopening the program mandated by this decision as soon as possible.

“This victory would not have been possible without the courageous leadership of the immigrants and attorneys who boldly fought back against this administration’s attempt to trample upon the rights of immigrant youth across the nation. As this calamitous administration winds down in the coming weeks, we ask that the Department of Homeland Security and other federal agencies cease their attacks and allow for a new administration to reform our immigration system so that it protects the rights of people migrating.”

Legal Background: This order is the latest chapter in immigrant youths’ long-running effort to protect the program from the Trump administration’s anti-immigrant agenda. In June 2020, the Supreme Court issued a historic decision, overturning the Trump administration’s effort to terminate DACA. In accordance with this decision, the program was restored to its original form, and the Trump administration therefore should have immediately begun accepting new applications. Instead, Acting Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Chad Wolf issued a memo in July partially rescinding DACA and closing the program to new applicants.

Today’s order builds on an earlier decision from Judge Garaufis finding that Secretary Wolf was serving unlawfully at the time he issued this memo. As such, the memo has been vacated, and the DACA program is restored to its original form. DHS is therefore obliged to accept new applicants.

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The Unitarian Universalist Service Committee (UUSC) is a nonprofit, nonsectarian organization advancing human rights together with an international community of grassroots partners and advocates.