In yet the latest round in the battle over DACA, a hearing was held last Friday in Federal court, regarding the Trump administration’s defiance of a ruling issued on July 17, 2020, ordering the USCIS to begin processing new DACA applications.
Federal Judge Grimm gave the government 30 days to comply with the order or publicly clarify the DACA program’s status and directed the parties to prepare a briefing schedule on whether the government should be held in contempt for failing to accept new DACA applications.
This latest hearing comes over a month after the Supreme Court ruling issued on June 18, 2020, denying the government’s right to terminate the program and a week following the Trump administration’s continued defiance in refusing to accept new DACA applications.
The Justice department attorney Mr. Pezzi argued for the agency that the USCIS had not actually refused to accept applications, but had rather put them “on hold” as the government discusses the details of the future of the program. This assertion, however, is false, since there are many documented reports of DACA applications being rejected with a USCIS form stating that no new applications are being accepted. Pezzi went on to acknowledge that the DACA information on the USCIS website was “outdated and inaccurate information” and said he had pressed the administration to fix it expeditiously.
Unimpressed, Judge Grimm noted that “In a circumstance where the agency has not found the time or resources to change their website to accurately reflect what the status is, it is probably not the greatest degree of reassurance to the plaintiffs [about] a timeline for the decision on the new policy,” and that the inaccurate website information “fuels a belief by the plaintiffs that something is underlying this failure to process the claims, and the delays in consideration are being done for an ulterior motive”.
Clearly the pressure on the government is now mounting, as it becomes more and more apparent that the administration will be held accountable for its failure to comply and will be required to respond to the court for its actions going forward. As the attention on the issue grows, the agency will likely concede and revise its DACA website to reflect instructions for filing new DACA applications under the 2012 guidelines. However, it now appears they may have another 30 days to do so. Dreamers should visit the USCIS DACA webpage frequently for updates.
You can find out more about qualifying for DACA and the issues regarding the administration’s attempts to cancel the program and failure to accept new applications by visiting www.Immigratetoday.com and clicking on the Immigration Newsletter link in the upper left hand corner or by visiting the enewsletter site at: www.americanimmigrationcentral.com
*** Contributions to this Column are made by Attorney Caroly Pedersen, Esq. of the American Immigration Law Center