Jan. 10 (UPI) -- A federal judge on Tuesday blocked President Donald Trump's plan to let the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program expire and said it must process renewal applications.
The ruling by U.S. District Judge William Alsup says the Trump administration must continue to accept DACA renewal applications, despite the president's decision in September to end new and renewal applications and let the program expire on March 5.
Alsup said the reasoning to end the program was based on a misinterpretation of the law and voided the president's decision.
"The new administration didn't terminate DACA on policy grounds," Alsup wrote in the opinion. "It terminated DACA over a point of law, a pithy conclusion that the agency had exceeded its statutory and constitutional authority. An important question now presented is whether that conclusion was a mistake of law."
In a Sept. 5 memo from then-acting DHS secretary Elaine Duke, the agency said it lacked authority to implement DACA because it was an executive order from the executive branch.
Alsup said that reasoning was flawed because the agency and administration do have the authority to implement the program, which allows children brought to the country as undocumented immigrants stay and work legally for two-year intervals.
Trump's decision on DACA in September set an Oct. 5 deadline for renewal applications, which would give recipients another two years of legal residency in the United States. Under Alsup's ruling, renewal applications must still be accepted, giving those approved another two years from the new date of their application approval.
Alsup said the administration did not have to accept new DACA applications.
The lawsuit was brought against the Trump administration by the Regents of the University of California system and its president, Janet Napolitano.
Wednesday, the president criticized the judge's decision on Twitter.
"It just shows everyone how broken and unfair our Court System is when the opposing side in a case (such as DACA) always runs to the 9th Circuit and almost always wins before being reversed by higher courts," Trump wrote.
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra praised the ruling.
"It's an affirmation of the principle that no one is above the law," he told the Washington Post. "We said it from the very beginning: Donald Trump and this administration did not follow the rules in trying to abandon the DACA program."