Supreme Court declines to hear DACA case


The U.S. Supreme Court has declined to decide for now whether the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program should continue, turning down a request by the Trump administration to hear the case early. The Feb. 26 decision allows the DACA program to remain in effect under a district court ruling and sends the case back to the appeals court.

The Trump administration has called DACA, an Obama administration policy that protected from deportation immigrants who were brought to the United States illegally as children and authorized them to work in the United States, an “unconstitutional overreach of executive branch power” by the former administration that deliberately sought to undermine the legislative branch.

President Trump announced in September 2016 that he would phase out the DACA program and gave Congress 6 months to pass legislation that would replace DACA or preserve some of its provisions or he would terminate it. They have made little progress toward agreeing on replacement legislation for DACA since then.

A number of plaintiffs sued the Trump administration over the program’s rescission, including the University of California, several states, and a group of individuals who remain in the United States because of DACA. The plaintiffs alleged the rescission violated the Administrative Procedure Act because it was an abuse of discretion and deprived those affected by DACA of “constitutionally protected property and liberty interests without due process of law.”

In a Jan. 9 opinion, the United States District Court for the Northern District of California sided with the plaintiffs, ruling that they were likely to succeed on their claims that the rescission “was arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion, or not otherwise in accordance with law.” The court ordered the government to continue accepting DACA renewal applications while the challenges continued through the court system. Rather than pursuing an appeal, the U.S. Department of Justice requested that the Supreme Court take up the case.

In its Feb. 26 order, the high court declined to hear the case, writing, “it is assumed the court of appeals will act expeditiously to decide this case.”

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