SEATTLE - Immigration activists are cautiously optimistic after a federal judge ruled protections for DACA recipients must stay in place and that the government must resume accepting new applications.
DACA, which stands for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, offers protection for some undocumented immigrants from deportation.
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It's the third federal judge to rule in the program's favor.
But there’s still a lot of uncertainty about the program.
Though it's been more than a year since Daniel Ramirez Medina was released from the Northwest Detention Center, the fight over his DACA status still isn't over.
Jorge Baron with the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project has been supporting Ramirez's legal team.
“We think this is an unfair situation Daniel has been facing for many months now,” Baron said.
Ramirez was one of the first so-called "Dreamers" detained under the Trump administration.
Ramirez's lawyers say his status was reinstated in a separate federal case. Then, the feds tried to strip it away again because they allege he is a gang member, which Ramirez and his attorneys have insisted is not true.
“The reasons for terminating his case are just invalid,” Baron added. “They can’t just give it and try to take it.”
Ramirez's story is a microcosm of the complexities in the DACA debate that has seen its shares of ups and down.
Just yesterday immigration advocates were handed a victory when a third federal judge ruled in favor of the program.
“It's still a long road so we don’t think this is the end,” Baron said.
KIRO 7 also caught up with DACA recipient Carlos Rodriguez, a former Seattle University student president who last year decided to step out from the shadows and came forward as an undocumented immigrant. He ultimately ended up resigning his post as president so he could focus on his status.
Rodriguez remains guarded about his future.
“I'm still very wary of where this could lead,” Rodriguez explained. “Because I think we still need comprehensive immigration reform. We need to include so many other people missing from the DACA conversation as well."
The judge also stayed his decision for 90 days and gave Homeland Security, which administers the program, the opportunity to better explain its reasoning for canceling it.
“We don’t want to say this is a definite situation,” Baron said. “We wish we could for DACA recipients trying to get some certainty about where things are but unfortunately we can’t honestly say that.”
As for Ramirez, he heads to federal court again on May 1.
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