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The Department of Homeland Security will resume processing renewal applications for young undocumented immigrants seeking protection from deportation under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, the agency said.
The Trump administration announced in September that it would eliminate DACA, which protects people who were illegally brought to the United States as children — so-called Dreamers — from being deported. The administration said at the time it did not have the authority to administer the program and it was up to Congress to make it law.
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But on Tuesday, U.S. District Judge William Alsup in San Francisco ruled that the Trump administration's decision to eliminate DACA was based on a shoddy legal argument and called the move "arbitrary" and "capricious."
Ruling in favor of the University of California, Alsup ordered the government to resume DACA renewal applications while challenges to the September order work their way through the courts.
The White House and President Donald Trump initially blasted the decision. But in a statement Saturday, DHS said: "Until further notice, and unless otherwise provided in this guidance, the DACA policy will be operated on the terms in place before it was rescinded on Sept. 5, 2017."
A bipartisan group of Senators had been working on a compromise legislative solution with Trump to protect the estimated 700,000 Dreamers covered under DACA. But it's not clear where negotiations stand after Trump allegedly made vulgar and derisive comments about accepting immigrants from "shithole countries" during a meeting Thursday with senators at the White House.
As the fallout from the president's comments continued into the weekend, Trump tweeted twice on Saturday morning, blaming Democrats for the absence of a deal as a potential government shutdown looms.
He then tweeted again on Sunday morning, claiming DACA is "probably dead" despite the judge's ruling prompting the U.S. to resume accepting renewal applications, and claiming he wants an immigration system based on merit.
During the now-infamous bipartisan meeting on the subject, Trump reportedly called for the U.S. to accept more immigrants from Norway, rather than Haiti and African countries.