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Federal Judge: Government’s Arbitrary October 5th DACA Renewal Deadline is “Heartless” and “Unacceptable”

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DHS should extend October 5th DACA renewal deadline affecting more than 150,000 DACA recipients; Congress should act on Dream Act

Washington, DC – Yesterday, at a hearing in a Brooklyn federal court, Judge Nicholas G. Garaufis expressed his frustration with the Trump Administration’s continued support for its arbitraryOctober 5th DACA renewal deadline, which affects more than a quarter of DACA recipients. The October 5th date is a new and arbitrary deadline that affects more than 150,000 DACA recipients with DACA expirations between September 2017 and March 2018. Additionally, nearly 160,000 DACA recipients live in the states of Florida and Texas, both recently ravaged by hurricanes.

In light of the Trump Administration’s continued insistence on keeping the October 5th arbitrary deadline–despite the challenges and dangers it poses to current DACA recipients—Judge Garaufis noted:

This is a democracy, these people have thrived in America, and you can’t just come into court and espouse a position that is so heartless … I’m 68 years old, and I’ve worked in every branch of government, and I’ve never seen a position like this. It’s unacceptable, quite frankly, to me, as a human being and as an American. I’m just glad I was born in Paterson, New Jersey, and not in Mexico City.

During an earlier September 14th hearing, Judge Garaufis made an explicit case that the October 5th deadline should be extended, noting that, “It would make a lot of sense from various vantage points to extend this deadline … There’s no harm, in this court’s view, in letting the legislative process play out and extending the deadline.”

Despite these important assessments from Judge Garaufis, the Trump Administration Department of Justice is maintaining its support for the arbitrary October 5th deadline. Meanwhile, the scope and focus of the class action lawsuit in front of Judge Garaufis means that despite his frustration and accurate assessment regarding the deadline, a judicial ruling extending the October deadline may not be forthcoming from his bench.

Without immediate action to support those applying for renewals or a reconsideration of, at a minimum, the October 5th deadline by the Trump Administration, tens of thousands of Dreamers will be sent back into the shadows and potentially exposed to deportation in a matter of weeks. If they don’t know about the new deadline, or can’t raise the funds, or get anything in the application wrong, they will be out of luck.

As a result, and as recent letters from lawmakers and civic and business leaders have called for, DHS should extend the deadline for DACA renewals to, minimally, January 5th, 2018 (see additional recommendations in this memo from America’s Voice Education Fund calling for an extension of the October 5thdeadline). 

Of course, in addition to extending the deadline, we still need Congress to act on a legislative solution.  The Dream Act has bipartisan support in both chambers, is the subject of a new discharge petition, and would pass if brought to the floor.

Follow Frank Sharry and America’s Voice Education Fund on Twitter: @FrankSharry and @AmericasVoice

America’s Voice Education Fund – Harnessing the power of American voices and American values to win common sense immigration reform