White House fights federal judge's ruling that DACA protections must continue

PHOTO: Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients and other young immigrants march with supporters as they arrive at the Capitol in Washington D.C., on March 5, 2018. PlayJ. Scott Applewhite/AP
WATCH White House fights federal judge's ruling that DACA protections must continue

The White House is fighting back against a federal judge’s ruling that the Trump administration must again accept new applications for protection from undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children and keep the program in place.

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White House press secretary Sarah Sanders Wednesday maintained the administration’s position that the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program for the approximately so-called 700 thousand Dreamers violates federal law.

“We believe the judge's ruling is extraordinarily broad and wrong on the law,” Sanders said. “What's worse is that it creates an incentive for more illegal immigrant youth to come here and causes them to expect similar judicial policies be applied to them.”

Sanders put the onus on Congress to come up with a permanent fix to the DACA program.

“It's time for Congress to do what the president has called on them to do and offered to be part of and actually fix this problem,” she said.

In the ruling, the judge wrote that the administration’s “legal judgment was virtually unexplained...and so it cannot support the [Department of Homeland Security] decision ... It was also arbitrary and capricious in its own right, and thus likewise cannot support the agency’s action. For these reasons, DACA’s rescission was unlawful and must be set aside.”

The ruling is different from previous ones by other federal judges because it opens the door for a full reinstatement of the DACA program, not just renewals.

However, the judge is delaying the ruling for 90 days to give DHS a chance to “better explain” its view that DACA is unlawful.

DHS said it is “reviewing the court order,” with the Justice Department vowing to defend the administration’s position that DACA was implemented by the previous administration in an unlawful manner.

“DACA was implemented unilaterally after Congress declined to extend benefits to this same group of illegal aliens,” Justice Department spokesman Devin O’Malley said. “As such, it was an unlawful circumvention of Congress, and was susceptible to the same legal challenges that effectively ended DAPA. The Department of Homeland Security therefore acted within its lawful authority in deciding to wind down DACA in an orderly manner.”

ABC News' Alex Mallin and Geneva Sands contributed reporting.

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