Another court battle was lost by Donald Trump and his administration late last week, as Dreamers scored an early Christmas present. What a gift to those living in limbo, but the battle is not over––not yet.
Here is why. Even though the late Friday afternoon, Dec. 4, 2020 ruling by Brooklyn, NY federal Judge Nicholas Garaufis makes it clear that first-time applicants to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program created by President Barack Obama in 2012 must be allowed and even though incoming President Joe Biden has said he will reinstate the program, the ‘Dream’ could still be killed if Democrats don’t get control of the Senate.
While the ruling by Judge Garaufis in Batalla Vidal v. Wolf. Was another stinging rebuke of The Donald and his scrooge-like anti-immigrant agenda, now that Republicans have installed a conversative majority on the court, they could likely try to push their legal luck again.
While the ruling by Judge Garaufis, that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) must “post a public notice, within 3 calendar days of this Order … that it is accepting first-time requests for consideration of deferred action under DACA” is a short-term gift this holiday season to Dreamers, one has to look ahead to 2021 and the impact of the new conservative SCOTUS, especially with Amy Coney Barrett now on the bench for life.
When the Supreme Court ruled in June that the DHS’s initial attempts to end DACA was void because the department did not adequately explain why it was doing so, Coney Barrett was not a part of the Court.
While Judge Garaufis’ ruling in mid-November that Undersecretary of Homeland Security’s Office for Strategy, Policy, and Plans, Chad Wolf, July 28th memo directing “DHS personnel to take all appropriate actions to reject all pending and future initial requests for DACA,” “was not lawful,” the ruling on Dec. 4th details further some of the consequences of the mid-November decision.
“Because Mr. Wolf was without lawful authority to serve as acting secretary of OHS, the Wolf Memorandum is VACATED,” Garaufis wrote in his most recent order.
What a relief for those DACA-eligible immigrants, barring of course a decision from a higher court blocking Garaufis’s most recent order.
The other breath of fresh air is that even if the order is blocked, President-elect Joe Biden has also pledged to fully reinstate DACA once he takes office on Jan. 20, 2021.
But while Biden has said he plans to revitalize DACA in the first 100 days and send a comprehensive immigration reform bill that includes legalization for undocumented immigrants living in the U.S., to Congress, those plans could go nowhere if Democrats don’t win in Georgia.
So while we celebrate, let’s also recognize that the battle is not over and we must not get side-tracked but keep focused on emerging the base of immigrant and liberal Democratic voters in Georgia to get out and vote again––bright and early in the New Year, on Jan. 5, 2021. Let’s get back to mobilizing and getting out the vote. The war is not yet won; David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler must go for progress to truly happen under the Biden/Harris administration and that includes for immigrants.
The writer is publisher of NewsAmericasNow.