Supreme Court again takes no action on DACA, leaving policy in effect for now

By Michael Joseph on March 16, 2019

On February 18, 2019, the Supreme Court once again did not act on the Trump administration's effort to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, leaving protections for nearly 700,000 undocumented immigrants who came to the US as children in place for at least the next several months.  The court's inaction is a loss for the Trump administration that had asked for the justices to take up the issue this fall and comes as the President has tried to exchange protections in exchange for a border wall.

Some Supreme Court Analyst and Professors were quoted saying that ‘the justices' refusal to act on the government's pending appeals in the DACA litigation means, among other things, that President Trump can't use this litigation, at least for now, for leverage in negotiations over the government shutdown.’

On February 16, 2019, Trump proposed a deal that would extend temporary protections to DACA recipients and immigrants with temporary protected status in exchange for his border wall. The offer was a reversal from his previous position of leaving the program in the hands of the Supreme Court. The issue facing the Supreme Court is not the legality of the program, but the way the Trump administration wanted to terminate it.

Under the administration's original plan, protections would have begun to expire in March 2018. But a slew of legal challenges and subsequent court rulings have kept the program alive.  Plaintiffs, including the University of California, a handful of states and DACA recipients, argued that the phase-out violated the Administrative Procedure Act, a federal law that governs how agencies can establish regulations.

Three federal judges have ruled that the justification and the manner by which the administration terminated DACA was flawed. The administration had tried to circumvent the appeals courts and involve the Supreme Court early on to no avail. But late last year, the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals eventually upheld a ruling blocking the phase out, allowing the Supreme Court appeal.

Our White Plains Immigration Attorney’s believe that its unlikely that DACA recipients will receive reprieve through legislation anytime soon. Democrats immediately dismissed Trump's latest proposal to provide temporary protections, pushing instead for a more permanent solution. The back and forth over DACA has left the program's beneficiaries with no clear path forward. The program, announced in 2012, provides recipients with protection for two years, which can be renewed, and allows them to work legally in the country. To qualify, recipients must've entered the country before the age of 16 and lived in the US since 2007.

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