Princeton triumphs in court as judge resumes DACA

Complaint brought by the university and Princeton senior affirmed in district court

U.S. District Court Judge John Bates ruled in favor of Trustees of Princeton University and Princeton senior Maria Perales who challenged the legality of President Donald Trump’s 2017 September decision to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival Program.

DACA extended legal status and work permission to undocumented minors.

“Today’s decision left me with a variety of emotions,” Perales, a dreamer, wrote in her statement, “The better opinion would have been to immediately restore all of the original DACA, as the current decision prolongs the uncertainty that has terrorized undocumented youth once again.”

“At the same time, I’m faithful that DACA’s constitutionality will be upheld, and I hope that soon DACA is available to new applicants. While the news today brings some relief, I know that the fight for justice is unfortunately far from over, yet undocumented migrants are far from giving up,” she said.

In a 60 page brief, Bates noted that “DACA’s rescission was arbitrary and capricious.” The Trump administration had previously moved to dismiss Princeton’s complaint in its entirety, claiming that the university had no grounds to sue and that the court had no jurisdiction over the matter.

“Neither the meager legal reasoning [of the Trump administration] nor the assessment of litigation risk provided by DHS to support its rescission decision is sufficient to sustain termination of the DACA program,” the decision reads.

Princeton University president Christopher Eisgruber had previously issued letters speaking against other immigration-related actions taken by the Trump administration. The university is listed as a plaintiff in a case that challenged the legality of Trump’s travel ban in 2017. Eisgruber had also personally advocated for protections for undocumented students in an open letter.

“Princeton, higher education and our country benefit from the talent and aspirations that DREAMers bring to our communities. We continue to urge Congress to enact a permanent solution that recognizes the contributions of Maria Perales Sanchez and other DREAMers, and offers them the protection and the certainty that they deserve,” Eisgruber says regarding the Tuesday decision. 

Bates’ decision marks the third ruling against Trump’s termination of the DACA program. The program had resumed in part in January following its first reaffirmation in court. Following this decision, the Trump administration must accept new applications and fully resume the program.


Princeton University