Jessica Hanson attorney for the National Immigration Law Center outside...

Jessica Hanson attorney for the National Immigration Law Center outside Eastern District Federal Court in Brooklyn, NY on Sep. 26, 2017. Credit: Anthony Lanzilote

The Trump administration has rebuffed Brooklyn U.S. District Judge Nicholas Garaufis’ request to postpone deadlines for winding down the program that allows 800,000 people in the U.S. illegally since they came as children to stay, a government lawyer said Tuesday.

Garaufis, who is hearing a challenge to the planned elimination of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, immediately blasted the Department of Homeland Security’s refusal to go along with his Sept. 14 call for delay, calling it “unacceptable” and “heartless” to make people unnecessarily fear deportation.

“What’s the hurry?” Garaufis asked Justice Department lawyer Brett Shumate during a hearing. “Who down there is creating this in terrorem kind of situation? You can’t come into court to espouse a position that is heartless.”

President Donald Trump announced last month that he was ending the DACA program, started by President Barack Obama to give work permits and two-year assurances against deportation to so-called “dreamers.”

After March, no beneficiaries will be allowed to extend their permits. Those whose permits expire before March — an estimated 154,000 — can get a two-year extension, but must apply by Oct. 5. That is the deadline Garaufis wanted the government to delay.

Plaintiffs, who say Trump is ending the program because of anti-Latino bias and didn’t follow correct procedures, said they had not decided whether to ask for a preliminary injunction.

New York and other states have joined the case, and a similar challenge is underway in federal court in California. The government says Trump has broad power to end a program that Obama created by an order that has been challenged as exceeding the president’s constitutional authority.

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