A US federal judge has upheld his order that the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) programme which protects young illegal immigrants, should be fully restored, setting a 20-day deadline for President Donald Trump's administration to do so.

Washington D.C. District Judge John Bates on Friday said the Trump administration still has failed to justify its proposal to end DACA, the Obama-era programme that has protected nearly 800,000 young undocumented immigrants brought to the US as children from deportation, reports CNN.

In a blistering 25-page opinion, Bates said the Department of Homeland Security, which runs the programme, failed to "elaborate meaningfully on the agency's primary rationale for its decision" and called the policy "unlawful and unconstitutional".

The government has 20 days, until August 23, to appeal the ruling or the Trump administration will have to restart DACA, Bates wrote in the ruling. Friday's ruling is the second such ruling blocking the administration from ending the DACA programme.

In April, Bates also ruled against the Trump administration's move to end the program but gave the government 90 days to better explains its rationale, reports USA Today. The decision to end DACA has faced multiple legal hurdles. Bates joined judges in Brooklyn and San Francisco in ruling against the administration.

Support for Dreamers
In picture: Students gather in support of DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) at the University of California Irvine Student Center in Irvine, California, U.S., October 11, 2017.Reuters

Another ruling on the programme is expected soon by a federal judge in Texas. The dispute dates back to 2012, when former president Barack Obama established the programme without congressional action.

The goal was to protect from deportation undocumented immigrants who were brought to the country as children, but many Republicans called it an executive overreach and have remained opposed to the programme.

The decision to end DACA marked an even deeper division along party lines after Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced in September that the Trump administration would end it.

New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman announces the filing of a multistate lawsuit to protect DACAReuters

In February, House Minority leader Nancy Pelosi spoke on the House floor for eight hours about the young undocumented immigrants, known as Dreamers. Her marathon speech broke a record for the longest continuous speech in House history since at least 1909.