Judge urges Trump to push back DACA deadline

NEW YORK, USA (CMC) – A United States federal judge is urging the Trump administration to extend the deadline for young, undocumented Caribbean and other immigrants to apply to stay in the US under a programme by former President Barack Obama.

President Donald Trump recently announced that he was rescinding the programme, which is known as the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and that those affected including Caribbean nationals would have until October 5 to reapply for protected status.

But Federal Judge Nicholas G Garaufis said the deadline was too soon and requested it be pushed back so that the President and Congress have time to fix the programme through legislation.

“The concern of the court is that October 5 is three weeks away,” Judge Garaufis said at an hour-long hearing in Federal District Court in Brooklyn. “It would make a lot of sense from various vantage points to extend this deadline.”

DACA has protected hundreds of thousands of children and young adults who were brought illegally to the United States by their parents.

Judge Garaufis said the only ones who would be “harmed” by keeping the deadline in place were the young immigrants themselves.

Observers say while the judge’s statement was not a court order, it was “a potent hint” of his position toward the decision to rescind DACA, a matter that arrived in his court last week when immigration lawyers filed a federal complaint saying that ending the programme was an “arbitrary, capricious” move “based upon animus toward Latinos”.

A day after it was filed, a group of 16 Democratic state attorneys general submitted a similar suit opposing the rollback, which has also ended up in front of Judge Garaufis.

At the hearing, Judge Garaufis, who was appointed by former US President Bill Clinton, said that “the ultimate outcome of this case should not be heard by a court of law — it should be handled by the political branches”.

But he sternly warned that if Trump and Congress were unable to reach a solution, he might be compelled to “protect” the 800,000 young immigrants who stand to be affected,.

Trump has given Congress six months to find a legislative solution to extend the protections on DACA that Obama granted by executive order.

Stating that America was built by immigrants, a Haitian legislator in New York last week denounced Trump’s decision to end DACA as racist and ignorant.

“President Trump’s decision to end the DACA programme ignores that history and dims the beacon of hope that America represents,” New York State Assembly Member Rodneyse Bichotte, the daughter of Haitian immigrants, told the Caribbean Media Corporation, last Thursday.

“It is morally wrong and it is based on ignorance and racism.”

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