The United States Supreme Court on Monday declined to hear the Trump administration’s appeal of a federal judge’s ruling that requires the government to keep the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) programme going.
Under a lower court order that remains in effect, the Department of Homeland Security must continue to accept renewal applications from the roughly 700,000 young people, who are currently enrolled in DACA programme.
The administration had intended to shut the programme down by March 5, the deadline largely meaningless, NBC News reported.
The court said, “It is assumed the court of appeals will act expeditiously to decide this case.”
The denial gives Congress more time to come up with a legislative solution, though repeated bipartisan efforts have failed so far.
At a White House meeting with the US governors, President Donald Trump had said that after the court’s decision, “We’d like to help DACA”. The President had also criticised the lower court.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Democrat Senator California, said, “Today’s Supreme Court action shows that rescinding DACA was not only legally questionable but also unjust and cruel. The court’s action is welcome news, but only Congress can provide the permanent protection our ‘Dreamers’ need and deserve.”
The denial was largely expected as the apex court rarely accepts appeals asking them to bypass the lower courts.
According to NBC News, the programme allows children of illegal immigrants to remain here if they were under 16 when their parents brought them to the United States and if they arrived by 2007. Those who are given DACA status must renew it every two years.
A federal judge in San Francisco on January 9 ruled in favour of the University of California and its President and former Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano after they sued to keep the programme going.
The January ruling followed Trump administration saying last year that it would end the programme within six months. The judge had said Attorney General Jeff Sessions had wrongly concluded that DACA was put in place without proper legal authority.
“The DACA programme – 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 programme that Congress had explicitly and repeatedly rejected is a usurpation of legislative authority…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,” the White House said on Monday.
The Supreme Court has agreed only about a dozen times in the past century to immediately take a case and bypass the federal appeals courts, and those case usually involve a national emergency such as nationwide strikes in the steel and coal industries.
The apex court’s action leaves the DACA challenge pending before the California appeals court, where it is in the early stages. The Justice Department said it would take at least another year to get back to the Supreme Court for a decision on DACA’s future.
If Congress acts in the meantime to extend the programme or provide an alternative path to citizenship for its recipients, the legal case would probably be dismissed