WASHINGTON – The Mexican-American federal judge whom then-candidate Donald Trump suggested could not render an impartial decision in the Trump University case due to his ancestry will soon preside over a controversial immigration dispute.
Judge Gonzalo Curiel, who sits on the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California, will soon hear a complaint filed by a 23-year-old Mexican national alleging unauthorized deportation by U.S. immigration officials.
The petitioner is suing the Trump administration for having allegedly violated legal protections granted under then-President Barack Obama’s 2012 executive order that came to be known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).
The order granted certain undocumented immigrants who entered the United States as minors the right to remain in the United States for two years if they met certain conditions such as attending school.
After two years, eligible undocumented immigrants can apply for status renewal.
President Trump campaigned on a hardline anti-immigration platform that included a pledge to end DACA but since taking office has suggested he favors retaining certain parts of the program.
Trump in an interview last June suggested Judge Curiel could not be trusted to render a fair decision in the Trump University case because: “He’s a Mexican. We’re building a wall between here and Mexico.”
The remark drew strong criticism from many prominent Republicans including House Speaker Paul Ryan (Wis.).
The president settled the Trump University suit in March for $25 million.