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Dreamers Can Renew DACA Status... For Now

Associated Press

A federal judge in California last week ruled that the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program – or DACA – must continue despite President Donald Trump’s vow to stop the program unless Congress can agree to legislation by March 5.

Judge William Alsup of Federal District Court in San Francisco noted the legal challenges to the decision to revoke DACA. He ruled that part of DACA can continue and people whose DACA eligibility has expired or is about to expire must be able to renew.

That takes a bit of pressure of Congress and the president, who as of this airing seem to be at an impasse on immigration legislation.

It takes a bit of pressure off Norma Ramirez, too.

Norma is a DACA recipient from Las Vegas. She’s getting her Ph.D. at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena. She was part of one of the lawsuits that Judge Alsup ruled on last week.

Ramirez says this ruling shows the efforts of her and her fellow lawsuit participants are making a difference.

She doesn't immediately benefit, though, as her DACA status doesn't expire until October. And, she points out, anything can happen between now and October.

"I don't know what's going to happen between now and the time that I can renew," she said, "For me, it is an unknown."

Michael Kagan agrees. He's the director of the Immigration Law Clinic at Boyd Law School. He likes the outcome of this ruling, but he's not exactly sure it will hold up legally upon appeal to higher courts.

"I'm not sure that the district court was right," he said, "I'm glad for the policy result but I do think that sometimes in law you don't always get the policy result that you want. I have trouble with the legal reasoning in the district court but I love the result."

He said a higher court might end up agreeing with the Trump administration on the DACA program but for right now DACA renewals are going forward.

Kagan also says that President Trump's sentiments about preferring immigrants from Norway to, say, El Salvidor or Haiti, are a long part of the U.S. immigration story, which was started in the 19th Century to keep out Chinese immigrants.

Norma Ramirez, Ph.D. student, Fuller Theological Seminary and DACA recipient; Michael Kagan, Director of the Immigration Law Clinic, Boyd Law School

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(EDITOR'S NOTE: Carrie Kaufman no longer works for KNPR News. She left in April 2018)