- The Washington Times - Friday, May 17, 2019

A federal appeals court ruled Friday that President Trump’s 2017 attempt to phase out the Obama-era DACA deportation amnesty for illegal immigrant “Dreamers,” saying his administration didn’t do enough to justify his reasoning.

The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision doesn’t have any immediate effect, since it repeats a decision previously issued by another appeals court.

But it does add more legal weight against Mr. Trump as he seeks to have the Supreme Court step in.

The 2-1 decision did give the administration a small win, finding that a lower court erred when it demanded that the administration shield people approved for DACA from having their information shared within the government.

The two judges who ruled against Mr. Trump were both Democratic appointees to the court.

They said the Justice Department in 2014 issued an opinion justifying the use of executive powers to grant a broad deportation amnesty, known as “deferred action,” for categories of migrants. The Trump administration never revoked that Obama-era ruling, and didn’t do a good job of explaining why they no longer believed in that expansive use of powers.

“The point is that the department had before it at the time it rescinded DACA a reasoned analysis from the office tasked with providing legal advice to all executive branch agencies that supported the policy’s legality. Yet the department changed course without any explanation for why that analysis was faulty,” wrote Judge Albert Diaz, an Obama appointee.

Dissenting was Judge Julius N. Richardson, a Trump appointee, who said the courts had no power to review the administration’s decision to revoke DACA.

He said when President Obama announced it, DACA was billed as a use of prosecutorial discretion, not a new policy.

Judge Richardson said Mr. Trump could therefore decide to follow different discretion priorities, and judges shouldn’t second-guess that.

“To hold otherwise permits the Judicial Branch to invade the province of the executive and impair the carefully constructed separation of powers laid out in our Constitution,” he wrote.

DACA currently protects nearly 700,000 illegal immigrants from deportation, giving them a chance to work, gain driver’s licenses and get some taxpayer benefits.

No new applications are being accepted thanks to the Trump administration’s action and court decisions, but those already in the program are able to renew their two-year approvals.

To qualify illegal immigrants needed to come to the U.S. before age 16, have been in the U.S. by June 15, 2007, and have been less than 31 years old when Mr. Obama announced the policy on June 15, 2012.

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