A federal judge in California ruled that the Trump administration incorrectly concluded that the program wasn't legally implemented by the Obama administration.
President Donald Trump on Wednesday complained about the federal courts the morning after a judge in California blocked his administration from fully terminating a program temporarily shielding young unauthorized immigrants from deportation.
Judge William Alsup, an appointee of former President Bill Clinton, issued a nationwide injunction Tuesday evening ordering the Trump administration to continue processing renewal applications for recipients of the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.
"It just shows everyone how broken and unfair our Court System is when the opposing side in a case (such as DACA) always runs to the 9th Circuit and almost always wins before being reversed by higher courts," Trump said on Twitter.
Though Alsup is a district judge who does not himself sit on the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, any appeal of his ruling would be heard by that federal appeals court. The 9th Circuit has ruled against the Trump administration multiple times, including for his most recent travel ban currently awaiting action from the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court.
Alsup, in his ruling, said the Trump administration had improperly arrived at the conclusion that DACA was not implemented legally by the Obama administration. He declared that the Homeland Security secretary has the authority to grant the sort of temporary protections from deportation that DACA provided.
The Trump administration had announced in September it would phase out DACA over six months, allowing those recipients with near-term expiry dates to renew their two-year protections one last time, so long as they submitted their applications before an October 5 deadline.
An estimated 22,000 eligible DACA recipients either did not or could not apply for renewal before the deadline, and roughly 1,900 of those who attempted renewal saw their applications lost or delayed in the mail and subsequently rejected. Alsup's ruling, in the short term, means their renewal applications must be processed by the Trump administration.
The White House has not yet said whether they plan to appeal the ruling, but press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the ruling is "outrageous."
"An issue of this magnitude must go through the normal legislative process," she said in a statement. "President Trump is committed to the rule of law, and will work with members of both parties to reach a permanent solution that corrects the unconstitutional actions taken by the last administration."
The ruling came just hours after an unusual public negotiation session between Trump and a bipartisan group of lawmakers on Tuesday regarding the permanent fate of DACA recipients, including whether to offer them a pathway to citizenship.
Trump said at the meeting that he would back a two-phase solution in which a DACA resolution could be paired with certain border security measures in a bill, to be followed later by a plan for broader immigration reform.