A US judge on Tuesday blocked President Donald Trump's administration from ending an Obama-era program that provided legal status to young immigrants who entered the country illegally as children.
San Francisco-based Judge William Alsup issued his 49-page ruling Tuesday evening, ordering the administration to reinstate the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA).
The government is "HEREBY ORDERED AND ENJOINED, pending final judgment herein or other order, to maintain the DACA program on a nationwide basis on the same terms and conditions as were in effect before the rescission," he wrote.
Alsup said that the Department of Justice's view that the program was illegal was based on a "flawed legal premise."
Unless his order is overturned by a higher court, former DACA recipients will now be eligible to submit renewal applications and the government will be required to "post reasonable public notice" that the program is once again active.
So-called "Dreamers" were protected from deportation under the policy enacted during Barack Obama's presidency.
In September, Trump said he was scrapping the DACA program but delayed enforcement to give Congress six months -- until March -- to craft a lasting solution.
Earlier Tuesday, Trump had taken command of a high-profile White House meeting to coax Republican and Democratic lawmakers toward a compromise on the fate of the Dreamers.
He also signaled he was open to more comprehensive immigration reform to address millions of other undocumented people living in the shadows, as long as Democrats are willing to countenance greater border security, including a controversial wall along the Mexican border.