The Trump administration is openly and defiantly ignoring what are now multiple court orders on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Despite the Supreme Court’s historic ruling last month and then a federal judge’s ruling last Friday, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) claimed the administration was “reviewing the court decision,” like the order was somehow a choice. But in the eyes of an authoritarian white supremacist administration displeased with the court outcomes, that’s what it believes it really is.
The administration’s open defiance of court orders to fully reopen the program to hundreds of thousands of new applicants (and much-needed fees that USCIS desperately needs) “may put immigration officials at risk of court penalties,” Law360 said. “The agency's failure to comply could leave administration officials facing a contempt order, or at least the threat of one, from a federal judge, according to Leon Rodriguez, who served as USCIS director for three years during the Obama administration.”
It’s hard to keep up with the administration’s lawlessness lately, especially at the hands of unconfirmed Department of Homeland Security officials Chad Wolf (who last year lied to Congress about his role in the family separation policy) and anti-immigrant loudmouth Ken Cuccinelli (who was unlawfully appointed to USCIS, a federal judge ruled this year). But just openly refusing to accept the court’s orders—I’m just astounded. I know I shouldn’t be three and half years into this horror show, but I am.
The lawlessness and authoritarian defiance is happening as experts say there’s no wiggle room because the orders are clear. The Supreme Court’s June decision finding the administration unlawfully ended the program was certified over a week ago, meaning the administration had “an unambiguous obligation to fully reinstate DACA,” experts with the Center for American Progress (CAP) wrote. But the administration still refused to budge.
Then on Friday, another court made another clear ruling requiring the administration “to restore DACA to the way it operated before the administration tried to terminate it in the fall of 2017,” CBS News reported. That includes reopening to brand new applicants and reinstating advance parole, which allowed some DACA recipients to be able to travel internationally for specific reasons and return home to the U.S. But the administration has continued to refuse to budge.
This is the point where if nobodies like us (and who aren’t friends with the president) defied a court order, our asses would get it. And it’s not just that the authoritarian Trump administration is saying that the court can go fuck itself because it didn’t like the outcome of the rulings, it’s that it’s also blocking hundreds of thousands of young immigrants from their chance to apply for relief, including work permits and protection from deportation.
So what happens now? Well, we keep screaming about this because we have no other choice. The courts could sanction, and they should. Chad and Ken certainly come to mind. “You have a court that's basically said they need to immediately begin authorizing new DACA cases and continue with DACA renewals,” Rodriguez continued to Law360. "That's an order that needs to be executed immediately." CAP’s Phil Wolgin told The American Prospect: “I think they could be legitimately sued, and will be sued for contempt of court.”
”Juliana Macedo do Nascimento, policy manager at United We Dream, said that she had heard from folks who applied for DACA as soon as the Supreme Court’s decision came out, and at least one was rejected on July 1,” the report continued. “But as of July 13, when the Court’s judgement was certified, applications have good standing to be accepted—and if they’re denied, to sue the government for noncompliance with a court order. ‘Our thinking is that they’re going to delay this as much as possible.’”