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Business Immigration Zone (BIZ): Federal Judge Relies on Presidential Tweets to Block DACA Phase Out and Prevent Job Losses

January 11, 2018

Companies who employ DACA beneficiaries can rest easier – at least for now. On Tuesday, January 9, 2018, San Francisco U.S. District Judge William Alsup granted an injunction, blocking President Trump’s attempt to end Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (“DACA”), a federal program that protects young undocumented immigrants from deportation. In his ruling, Judge Alsup determined DACA should be left in place until lawsuits concerning DACA’s legality are concluded.

Estimates indicate Judge Alsup’s decision will prevent at least 1,400 individuals per day from losing employment authorization if DACA is terminated. Revoking DACA altogether will likely result in job losses for more than 30,000 individuals per month and nearly 700,000 individuals total. DACA beneficiaries currently work in all sectors of the U.S. economy.

When ruling, Judge Alsup relied on one of the President’s tweets where he announced support for the DACA program. Specifically, the President’s September 14, 2017, tweet stated, “Does anybody really want to throw out good, educated and accomplished young people who have jobs, some serving in the military? Really! Congress now has 6 months to legalize DACA (something the Obama administration was unable to do). If they can’t I will revisit the issue.” Based on this tweet, Judge Alsup concluded, “[w]e seem to be in the unusual position wherein the ultimate authority over the agency, the Chief Executive, publicly favors the very program the agency has ended . . . For the reasons DACA was instituted and for the reasons tweeted by President Trump, this order finds that the public interest will be served by DACA’s continuation.”

Judge Alsup also concluded the plaintiffs, a collection of Dreamers, universities and states, would suffer irreparable harm if the President moved forward with plans to terminate DACA in March, before the case is resolved. Accordingly, based on Judge Alsup’s decision, DACA likely will not be terminated until the legality of the DACA program is decided by the courts.