The ruling by Judge John D. Bates is a major blow to President Trump, and creates even more confusion about his immigration policy.
The decision is an important landmark in the litigation over DACA's validity, that saw the Trump administration being challenged by multiple lawsuits across the country.
The decision comes as a related case unfolds in Texas, which sets up the possibility of conflicting rulings.
Kirstjen Nielsen, the homeland security secretary, responded last month, arguing that DACA would likely be found unconstitutional in the Texas case and therefore must end.
Judge John Bates said the Trump administration still has failed to justify its proposal to end DACA, the Obama-era program that has protected almost 800,000 young undocumented immigrants brought to the USA as children from deportation.More news: 395 people in 15 states, including Ohio, sickened in McDonald’s salad outbreak
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Demonstrators protest the end of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), outside of the Capitol in Washington, D.C., March 5, 2018. Those rulings only required the government to process DACA renewals, not new applications. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit in San Francisco is reviewing one such ruling after having heard oral arguments in May.
"The Court simply holds that if DHS wishes to rescind the program... it must give a rational explanation for its decision", the judge wrote in his conclusion, saying that the government's "hodgepodge of illogical or post hoc policy assertions. simply will not do".
Earlier this year, Bates, a George W. Bush appointee, became the third federal judge to reject Trump's explanation for ending the program, ruling at the time that the decision by the Justice Department that the program was unlawful was "virtually unexplained". Bates had given the federal govenrment 90 days to offer a better legal justification for ending the program.
"The Court has already once given DHS the opportunity to remedy these deficiencies-either by providing a coherent explanation of its legal opinion or by reissuing its decision for bona fide policy reasons that would preclude judicial review-so it will not do so again".
Bates did grant Homeland Security's request for time to consider an appeal.
Trump has signed an executive order to end the family separations, but also repeatedly pledged to shut down the government this fall if he fails to secure funding for his long-promised southern border wall.