Conflicted `Dreamer’ Judge Weighs Trump Choice Against Hardships

Photographer: Christopher Dilts/Bloomberg

By Joel Rosenblatt


Just as Congress is divided over ending the so-called Dreamer program for children of undocumented immigrants, a federal judge voiced sympathy for arguments on both sides of the aisle.

In court Wednesday, U.S. District Judge William H. Alsup in San Francisco acknowledged the realities of changing political administrations and the effects those changes have on people’s lives. Supporters of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, are suing to stop it being rescinded in March, claiming the Trump administration hasn’t engaged in “reasoned decision-making.”

“Elections have consequences,” Alsup said. “If the side that wins wants to do away with the policy, that’s their prerogative.”

Alsup also said he is required to consider the hardship of 680,000 people affected by the government’s rescission of DACA, which he said will throw people out of work without the ability to collect unemployment benefits.

“That’s palpable, that’s real,” Alsup said. “They’ll be unable to work legally in the country,” get a social security number, pay taxes, “help the economy, help the country,” he added.

Alsup didn’t make a decision Wednesday about whether to temporarily block the Trump administration’s decision to end the program.

Republican and Democratic senators working on an immigration deal say they are closing in on an agreement combining a border-security package with deportation protections for young undocumented immigrants, though a final resolution isn’t likely to come until January.