A federal district court ruling this week was remarkable both for its legal reasoning and humane result. The Trump administration cannot unilaterally end the program that helps keep youngsters brought into this country by their parents from being deported, the program known as DACA for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.

Not only must the federal government keep the protections in place, it must continue to accept applications from those who otherwise might not be able to claim such protection.

This is the third court ruling in recent months protecting the program and those whom it covers. The judge was both fair, giving the administration 90 days in which to better explain its reasoning, and brutal, noting that the justification for terminating the program was “virtually unexplained.”

As most lawyers know, but as the top lawyers for the Trump administration seem to have trouble grasping, you can’t just say something is “unlawful” and expect a judge to agree. You have to have reasons and when it comes to getting rid of DACA, there are no good ones.

That’s why President Trump has had to make them up, the most disturbing being the constant attempt to link DACA to criminal activity and especially gangs.

The young people being protected by this program were brought here as children by their parents. Having been raised here, many do not even speak the language of the nation where they might be returned. To qualify for this renewable protection, they must be in school or in the military or have graduated or been honorably discharged.

Most important, they cannot have been convicted of a felony, certain significant misdemeanors such as driving under the influence or three misdemeanors of any kind.

In other words, these are the kinds of youngsters and young adults that we should welcome to our communities, not throw out. These are the people who have lived the kinds of lives that should qualify them to become citizens were it not for one problem — Congress has failed repeatedly to provide a way for them to reach that goal.

The only legitimate criticism of DACA is its temporary nature, the notion that we need a permanent solution. Those who are very much in favor of constructing this legitimate path to citizenship, who would like to reward the accomplishments of these youngsters and grant them their wish to become citizens, could not agree more. So it is important to protect those who have done nothing wrong until Congress gets around to doing something right.

Even the lecture from the judge seems to have baffled the administration, with the Justice Department saying that it looked forward to justifying the legality of its decision although failing to say how it plans to do so. The Department of Homeland Security was even worse, responding with what amounts to a political argument about the need to uphold our laws, the kind of half truth and misdirection that the president loves to use on the campaign trail.

For now, these Dreamers are not only safe but able to renew their applications for protection. And for now, that might be the best we and they can expect.