Supreme Court Declines Trump’s Appeal for DACA Case

The Roberts Court, June 1, 2017. Seated, from left to right: Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Anthony M. Kennedy, Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr., and Justices Clarence Thomas and Stephen G. Breyer. Standing, from left to right: Justices Eleana Kagan, Samuel A. Alito, Sonia Sotomayor, and Neil M. Gorsuch. Photograph by Franz Jantzen, Supreme Court Curator’s Office.

On February 26, the Supreme Court declined the White House’s request to make an immediate decision regarding whether or not the Trump administration could shut down the Barack Obama executive action commonly known as DACA.

Officially called the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program,  the immigration policy protects approximately 700,000 undocumented immigrants who arrived in the United States when they were under 16 years old from deportation.

Last September, President Trump ordered an end to DACA out of concern for “the millions of Americans victimized by this unfair system” and called upon Congress to pass a replacement program.  

In September while Jeff Sessions formally announced the end of the program, the Department of Homeland Security outlined in a memo the timetable and way the program would be ended.

The memo states that DACA recipients whose protected status would end on March 5 would have one month to renew their two-year protections. But, according to CNN, only 130,000 of the eligible 150,000 were able to renew their status in time.

The Trump administration has said the six-month window would allow Congress to work towards giving young immigrants a legal path to citizenship prior to the March deadline, but that effort has failed.

In January, a federal judge in California wrote that the Dreamers must be allowed to renew their status, but the administration did not have to accept new applications.  The judge also added that DHS’ actions were “based on a flawed legal premise.”

On February 13, a New York federal judge in Brooklyn also ordered the administration to preserve major aspects of the program. And, in concurrence with the earlier ruling said the administration does not have to accept new applications.

Following the lower court rulings, the administration bypassed the appellate courts and went directly to the Supreme Court, a rare legal maneuver. The high court ultimately declined to hear the case, leaving the Dreamers safe from deportation but still in a state of limbo.

Unfortunately, for the nearly the one million people who may be eligible for DACA protections but have not signed they now face more peril than ever.

Some measures that were required for an applicant to be approved for DACA include: background screenings, proof of age under 30, proof of US residency prior to age 16, and a clean arrest history that is clear of any felony or major misdemeanor charges.

As it stands now, it is likely that the issue will be before the Supreme Court Justices in October when the next term begins.

In the meantime, most DACA recipients will be able to continue living a relatively normal way, albeit with a sense of uncertainty until a concrete decision is finally made.

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