FOX NEWS - A George W. Bush-appointed federal judge on Tuesday ruled that President Trump's decision to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, known as DACA, "was unlawful and must be set aside."
U.S. District Judge John D. Bates in Washington became the third judge to rule against the White House's plans to end the program.
Judges William Alsup and Nicholas Garaufis, both Clinton appointees, had each issued injunctions earlier this year preventing the administration from terminating DACA based on its stated rationale that the Obama-era program was an illegal executive overreach.
Bates' decision does not hold that the Trump administration lacks the authority to rescind DACA. Rather, it holds that the administration's justification for ending the policy is insufficient under the Administrative Procedure Act, which states that courts “shall . . . hold unlawful and set aside agency action . . . found to be . . . arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion, or otherwise not in accordance with law.”
In his ruling, Bates noted a "non-trivial" possibility that the administration would be able to remedy his concerns by providing an alternative rationale.
"Athough the substantive flaws in DACA’s rescission are curable in theory, the Department may face practical obstacles when attempting to remedy them," Bates wrote. "Nonetheless, there remains a 'nontrivial likelihood' that the agency could justify DACA’s rescission on remand."
But Bates' 60-page ruling was mostly bad news for the White House for now. It requires that immigration officials "accept and process new as well as renewal DACA applications" if the administration "cannot better explain its view that DACA is unlawful" within a 90-day stay period.