Trump administration says it won’t budge on deadline for ‘Dreamers’

By Patricia Hurtado

Bloomberg News

NEW YORK — The Trump administration says it won’t budge on an Oct. 5 deadline for young immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children by undocumented immigrants to renew their permits to work legally in the U.S., prompting a judge to label the government’s stance “unacceptable.”

U.S. District Judge Nicholas Garaufis asked the Justice Department on Sept. 14 to extend the deadline while he considers a challenge from a Queens student who was brought to the U.S. from Mexico at the age of 6 and is fighting the rescission of his work permit in 2015 and a separate suit by states fighting the planned termination of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals — or DACA — program.

“The Department of Homeland Security has ultimately decided to maintain the deadlines,” Brett Shumate, a lawyer with Justice Department said at a hearing Tuesday in federal court in Brooklyn. “The decision was not made lightly.”

Garaufis wasn’t pleased with the response, saying that in addition to 800,000 so-called Dreamers who face deportation there are “literally millions of people” that will be harmed if the deadline isn’t extended.

“There are families. There are children. They have jobs. They’re teachers. They work in industry and they’re making this country strong,” Garaufis said. “You can’t come into court to espouse a position that is heartless.”

Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced Sept. 5 the administration had decided to end the Obama-era program that protects the Dreamers from deportation and allows them work legally in the U.S. The program is set to formally end on March 5.

Trump had indicated new legislation might save the program, and he worked with Democrats on a possible new bill.

“Does anybody really want to throw out good, educated and accomplished young people who have jobs, some serving in the military? Really!” the president wrote on Twitter.

Garaufis, who is also overseeing a lawsuit brought by 16 states, including New York, challenging the termination of the Dreamers’ program, said he would speed up the hearing schedule for both cases. He set a hearing for Jan. 18, when he’ll consider whether to throw out the lawsuits or rule in favor of the plaintiffs without a trial.

“What I’m going to do is take this out of the political realm and put it in the judicial realm,” the judge said at Tuesday’s hearing.