Seven months later, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program has been through legal disputes, congressional debates and back. U.S. District Judge John D. Bates ruled in NAACP v. Donald Trump that the DACA program must continue protections and accept new applications on April 24.

The Trump administration claimed the Obama-era program was enacted unlawfully upon termination of DACA. However, Bates, judge of the US District Court for the District of Columbia, stated evidence was inadequate to prove unlawfulness.  Early this year the U.S Supreme Court declined to hear the DACA case so Bates ruling could be the end of the line.

Now the U.S. government must continue to accept new DACA applications. Protections of the program must also continue, keeping the program active for now. Other states have also given these protections to undocumented young people through lawsuits siding with DACA in both California and New York, but this is a landmark case being the first federal ruling.    

“DACA’s rescission was arbitrary and capricious because the (Justice) Department failed adequately to explain its conclusion that the program was unlawful,” Judge Bates wrote in the NAACP v. Donald Trump ruling.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS), which created the DACA program, now has 90 days to provide evidence to show DACA is unlawful or Judge Bates will officially rule with NAACP and DACA protections will continue. This marks the third ruling against President Donald Trump’s repeal of DACA in recent months, including the University of California Office of the President lawsuit which Judges also ruled with plaintiffs in January.