The Supreme Court on Monday refused to hear the Trump administration’s challenge to a lower court ruling that temporarily stops the end of the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
The Trump administration says DACA is unconstitutional and an example of executive overreach and announced last year that the program would come to an end next month. While the Court’s decision is likely to be a disappointment for the Trump administration, it may ease pressure on Congress to come up with a legislative solution quickly.
The decision comes a week before the March 5 deadline set by President Trump for Congress to pass legislation to replace DACA, which allows immigrants who entered the country illegally as children to work and go to school in the United States.
In a statement announcing its decision, the Court said “It is assumed that the court of appeals will proceed expeditiously to decide this case.” The Court could still hear the case after it is heard by the lower court of appeals.
The Justice Department’s decision to appeal the case to the Supreme Court is unusual in that it bypassed the normal process of appealing to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. The Supreme Court usually bypasses an appellate court when there’s an issue of foreign affairs, separation of powers, or when it has already heard a case dealing with the same issue.
Under President Trump’s directive, so called ‘Dreamers’ who were brought to the country when they were children, would have started losing their legal protection on March 5, unless Congress passed a replacement. But courts in California and New York issued an injunction, keeping the DACA program in place.
Two weeks ago, the Senate failed to pass several pieces of legislation designed to replace DACA. The Senate was seen as the easiest hurdle to passage of such legislation, but leaders worried that conservative members of the House of Representatives could sink the effort to pass a DACA replacement.
In exchange for a pathway to citizenship for the “Dreamers” President Trump has demanded that funding for a border wall, an overhaul of the family reunification program, and the end of the visa lottery.
After the Senate failed to pass a DACA fix, President Trump said that Congressional Democrats have “totally forgotten” about DACA.
In a statement, the White House called DACA illegal and called for the appeals court to hear the case “expeditiously”
“The DACA program — which provides work permits and myriad government benefits to illegal immigrants en masse — is clearly unlawful. The district judge’s decision to unilaterally re-impose a program that Congress had explicitly and repeatedly rejected is a usurpation of legislative authority. The fact that this occurs at a time when elected representatives of Congress are actively debating this policy only underscores that the district judge has unwisely intervened in the legislative appeals process. We look forward to having this case expeditiously heard by the appeals court and, if necessary, the Supreme Court, where we fully expect to prevail.”