- President Donald Trump was once again undermined in court by his own tweets.
- A federal judge said several of Trump’s recent tweets contradicted the administration’s stated reasons for terminating the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.
- The judge issued a nationwide injunction Tuesday ordering the Trump administration to continue processing DACA renewal applications.
President Donald Trump’s tweets were once again used against him in court, after a federal judge in California on Tuesday blocked his administration from phasing out the Obama-era program shielding young unauthorised immigrants from deportation.
Judge William Alsup, of the Northern District of California, cited several of Trump’s tweets in his ruling, arguing that the president had demonstrated on Twitter that his decision to terminate the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program was based on politics and a flawed legal premise rather than on the merits of the policy.
The Trump administration had announced in September that it intended to wind down the program over six months, allowing Congress time to enact a permanent solution for the young immigrants commonly known as “Dreamers.” The White House had argued that DACA was an “unconstitutional exercise of authority” by the Obama administration.
But Alsup argued in his ruling that not only was President Barack Obama within his rights to enact DACA in 2012, but that Trump himself had backed the program even after ending it, demonstrating that it was in the public’s interest.
“Does anybody really want to throw out good, educated and accomplished young people who have jobs, some serving in the military? Really!” Trump tweeted in September, just days after the program’s termination was announced.
“On this point, we seem to be in the unusual position wherein the ultimate authority over the agency, the Chief Executive, publicly favours the very program the agency has ended,” Alsup wrote in his ruling. “For the reasons DACA was instituted, and for the reasons tweeted by President Trump, this order finds that the public interest will be served by DACA’s continuation.”
Using DACA as a ‘bargaining chip’
Alsup also noted the possibility that Trump’s termination of the program was “contrived to give the administration a bargaining chip to demand funding for a border wall,” as the plaintiffs had argued in their lawsuit.
Alsup cited a tweet Trump sent in late December, in which he demanded immigration-related concessions from Democrats in exchange for preserving DACA in some form.
“The Democrats have been told, and fully understand, that there can be no DACA without the desperately needed WALL at the Southern Border and an END to the horrible Chain Migration & ridiculous Lottery System of Immigration etc. We must protect our Country at all cost!” Trump tweeted.
Alsup’s ruling pointed out another Trump tweet sent on the same day his administration announced the phase-out of the program, in which he suggested he was open to preserving the program if Congress failed to enact legislation.
“Congress now has 6 months to legalise DACA (something the Obama Administration was unable to do). If they can’t, I will revisit this issue!” Trump’s tweet said.
“In sum,” Alsup wrote in his ruling, “The new administration didn’t terminate DACA on policy grounds. It terminated DACA over a point of law, a pithy conclusion that the agency had exceeded its statutory and constitutional authority.”
It’s far from the first time Trump’s tweets have been used against him in court. The president’s fiery missives were cited frequently as his travel bans have undergone litigation, including in recent arguments before the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.
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