The Supreme Court has ruled the Trump Administration violated federal law when it rescinded the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, created by President Obama in 2012. DACA granted temporary legal status to approximately 700,000 immigrants brought to the United States as children. That status was thrown into question by the Trump administration’s surprise decision to rescind the program in 2017.
The opinion, written by Chief Justice John Roberts, characterizes that decision as “arbitrary and capricious.”
The fine print, though, is important. “The dispute before the Court is not whether DHS may rescind DACA,” Roberts writes, “All parties agree that it may. The dispute is instead primarily about the procedure the agency followed in doing so.”
A majority of the justices agreed that the Acting Secretary of Homeland Security violated the Administrative Procedures Act when attempting to end the program. The opinion, though, lays the groundwork for President Trump to end DACA in a way the court would not take issue with if he’s reelected. The presidential election is November 3.
Over the last year, Immigration and Customs Enforcement had begun re-opening the closed deportation cases of DACA recipients. This decision says that — for now, at least — those individuals can not be deported.
But groups including the ACLU, which filed an amicus brief in the case, acknowledge that the decision is only a temporary reprieve. A permanent fix will require Congress to pass legislation protecting DACA recipients, or “Dreamers.”
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra led a coalition of attorneys general who defended DACA before the high court. “Our fight doesn’t end here,” Becerra said in a statement Thursday. “Congress can permanently fix our broken immigration system and secure a pathway to citizenship. As a former lawmaker who launched bipartisan immigration talks on Capitol Hill, I know first-hand that bipartisan support can—and must—exist. It will take all of us working together to get it done.”