A federal judge in California late Tuesday night temporarily blocked the Trump administration's decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.
Known as DACA for short, it protects young immigrants from deportation. In September, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that the program would be phased out.
President Obama implemented the program in 2012, and it has protected about 800,000 people who were brought to the United States as children by their families, some of whom overstayed their visas. Under the program, these young adults referred to as "Dreamers" have been permitted to live and work legally in the U.S.
U.S. District Judge William Alsup in San Francisco granted a request by California and other states to keep DACA going, at least until lawsuits can play out in court.
The Associated Press reports:
"Alsup said lawyers in favor of DACA clearly demonstrated that the young immigrants "were likely to suffer serious, irreparable harm" without court action. The judge also said the lawyers have a strong chance of succeeding at trial.
"Alsup considered five separate lawsuits filed in Northern California, including one by California and three other states, and another by the governing board of the University of California school system.
"DACA covers a class of immigrants whose presence, seemingly all agree, pose the least, if any, threat and allows them to sign up for honest labor on the condition of continued good behavior," Alsup wrote in his decision. "This has become an important program for DACA recipients and their families, for the employers who hire them, for our tax treasuries, and for our economy."
California Attorney General Becerra said in a statement after Tuesday's decision:
"Dreamers lives were thrown into chaos when the Trump Administration tried to terminate the DACA program without obeying the law. Tonight's ruling is a huge step in the right direction."
However, the Trump administration could appeal Alsup's ruling.
Earlier at the White House, President Trump met with lawmakers to discuss the DACA program and other immigration issues.
NPR's Brian Naylor reported:
"Trump told a bipartisan group of lawmakers on Tuesday that he wants a bill to allow young immigrants who were brought to the country illegally to remain, saying that such a measure should be "a bipartisan bill of love" and that "we can do it."
"As to what sort of immigration legislation he would approve, Trump said that he was reliant on lawmakers and that even if they produced legislation he wasn't "in love with," he would still support it. He also said he would take the heat for both Republicans and Democrats if they get criticism over a compromise immigration measure, adding that his "whole life has been heat" and that to a certain extent he prefers it that way."
The president also addressed the issue of a border wall with Mexico, saying the U.S. needs one "in certain areas obviously that aren't protected by nature" and where existing fences are in bad shape and need to be fixed or rebuilt.
But Trump also added, "There are large areas where you don't need a wall."