A federal judge Tuesday labeled as "unlawful" President Donald Trump's decision to rescind the Obama-era program protecting young illegal immigrants — and for the first time, said the government should accept new applicants.
U.S. District Judge John Bates, however, stayed his ruling for 90 days to allow the Department of Homeland Security a chance to provide a better legal argument for ending the program, The Washington Post reported.
"DACA's rescission was arbitrary and capricious because the Department failed adequately to explain its conclusion that the program was unlawful," Bates wrote, the Washington Examiner reported.
"Neither the meager legal reasoning nor the assessment of litigation risk provided by DHS to support its rescission decision is sufficient to sustain termination of the DACA program," he continued.
Justice Department spokesman, Devin O'Malley, told Politico the department would "vigorously defend" its position.
"[Tuesday's] order doesn't change the Department of Justice's position on the facts: DACA was implemented unilaterally after Congress declined to extend benefits to this same group of illegal aliens," he said, Politico reported. "As such, it was an unlawful circumvention of Congress."
Bates is the third judge to rule against the administration's attempts to rescind DACA, which provides work permits and deportation protections for about 690,000 illegal immigrants brought to the country as children.
If the government does not have a better explanation within 90 days, Bates said the administration's order to rescind DACA will be vacated and "DHS must accept and process new as well as renewal DACA applications," the Post reported.
"Each day that the agency delays is a day that aliens who might otherwise be eligible for initial grants of DACA benefits are exposed to removal because of an unlawful agency action," Bates wrote, the Post reported.
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