WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court on Thursday blocked an attempt by the Trump administration to end legal protections for 650,000 young immigrants, known as the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.
In a 5 to 4 decision, the justices rejected arguments made by the administration that DACA is illegal and that courts have no role to play in reviewing the decision to end the program. In the court’s opinion, penned by Chief Justice John Roberts and joined by the court’s four liberal members, justices said the administration failed to properly end the program, making the decision open to further review.
“We do not decide whether DACA or its rescission are sound policies,” Roberts wrote.
“We address only whether the agency complied with the procedural requirement that it provide a reasoned explanation for its action. Here the agency failed to consider the conspicuous issues of whether to retain forbearance and what if anything to do about the hardship to DACA recipients.”
The Department of Homeland Security can try again, he wrote. However, Reuters reported that it appeared unlikely that President Donald Trump would be able to end the program before voters head to the polls in November for the 2020 presidential election.
For now, DACA recipients, commonly referred to as “Dreamers,” retain their protection from deportation and their authorization to work in the United States.
Trump criticized the Court in a series of Twitter posts on Thursday, accusing justices of making “horrible & politically charged decisions” that “are shotgun blasts into the face of people that are proud to call themselves Republicans or Conservatives.”
President Barack Obama launched the DACA program by executive order in 2012. The program protects people who were brought to the United States illegally as children, allowing them to remain in the country on a temporary basis provided they meet certain criteria.
“Eight years ago this week, we protected young people who were raised as part of our American family from deportation,” Obama said Thursday in a series of tweets. “Today, I’m happy for them, their families, and all of us.”
Then-U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced in September 2017 that the Trump administration planned to phase out DACA, claiming that Obama overreached his executive authority when he created the program. Even if the Court decided that the order itself was lawful, attorneys for Trump argued that DHS had the right to terminate the program, according to The Washington Post.
The Court’s decision Thursday was seen as a blow to a central campaign promise from Trump and a likely topic for the 2020 presidential election. Trump has frequently argued that the U.S. needs stricter immigration policies.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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