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Supreme Court Blocks Trump's Bid to End DACA for Illegal Aliens

Court ruled against administration with a 5-4 majority

 on 19th June 2020 @ 1.00am
the supreme court ruled against the trump administration on the daca program © press
The Supreme Court ruled against the Trump Administration on the DACA program

The Supreme Court has blocked the Trump Administration's bid to terminate the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program for illegal aliens living in America.

On Thursday, Chief Justice John Roberts joined the court’s four Democratic-appointed justices to rule with a 5-4 majority.

The decision was announced just over eight years to the day that former President Barack Obama launched the program.

At the time, Obama said it would be a “temporary” program.

The program has protected around 800,000 illegal immigrants from deportation.

President Donald Trump announced his plans to terminate the DACA program in 2017, but lower court rulings have kept the program in place for almost three years.

the daca program was started under obama  but it was meant to be  temporary © press
The DACA program was started under Obama, but it was meant to be 'temporary'

The court ruled that the administration's decision to rescind the Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program violated the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), which sets out rulemaking procedures for federal agencies.

The court said the move to eliminate the program was done in an "arbitrary and capricious" manner although they did not rule on the merits of the program itself.

"We do not decide whether DACA or its rescission are sound policies. 'The wisdom' of those decisions 'is none of our concern,'" Roberts wrote in his opinion

"We address only whether the agency complied with the procedural requirement that it provide a reasoned explanation for its action."

Roberts wrote that the administration "failed to consider the conspicuous issues of whether to retain forbearance," as well as the impact the decision would have on DACA recipients who have relied on the program.

"That dual failure raises doubts about whether the agency appreciated the scope of its discretion or exercised that discretion in a reasonable manner," Roberts wrote.

"The appropriate recourse is, therefore, to remand to DHS so that it may consider the problem anew."

The program was established through an executive order from then-President Barack Obama that the Trump administration argued was improper to begin with, claiming this should have been done via legislation from Congress.

Roberts made clear that the administration does indeed have the power to rescind DACA, just not in this fashion.

“The dispute before the Court is not whether DHS may rescind DACA. All parties agree that it may," the Chief Justice wrote.

"The dispute is instead primarily about the procedure the agency followed in doing so.”

The Trump administration had argued that the decision to eliminate DACA does not fall under the purview of the APA because DACA itself was merely a decision not to enforce existing law against a certain group of people.

The Supreme Court disagreed, noting that "DACA is not simply a non-enforcement policy" because it is an actual program where people apply to receive a benefit.

"In short, the DACA Memorandum does not announce a passive non-enforcement policy; it created a program for conferring affirmative immigration relief," Roberts wrote.

"The creation of that program—and its rescission—is an 'action [that] provides a focus for judicial review.'"

The court also disagreed with the administration's position that the Immigration and Naturalization Act prohibits the decision to rescind DACA from being reviewed by the courts.

Justice Clarence Thomas wrote in a dissenting opinion that the decision to repeal DACA was correct and that the majority is holding the Trump administration's decision to repeal to a higher standard than the order that established it in the first place.

"These cases could—and should—have ended with a determination that his legal conclusion was correct," Thomas wrote.

"Instead, the majority today concludes that DHS was required to do far more."

He continued: "Without grounding its position in either the APA or precedent, the majority declares that DHS was required to overlook DACA’s obvious legal deficiencies and provide additional policy reasons and justifications before restoring the rule of law.

"This holding is incorrect, and it will hamstring all future agency attempts to undo actions that exceed statutory authority.

"I would, therefore, reverse the judgments below and remand with instructions to dissolve the nationwide injunctions.”

Thomas accused the court's majority of wanting to avoid making waves, even it if meant getting the law wrong.

In a line that President Trump retweeted Thursday morning, Thomas said, "Today’s decision must be recognized for what it is: an effort to avoid a politically controversial but legally correct decision."

At issue was a program created under executive order that gave about 700,000 people brought to the United States illegally as children the opportunity to receive a renewable two-year period of deferred action from deportation and become eligible for a work permit.

Hundreds of "Dreamers" and their supporters had rallied outside the court during the November oral arguments.

Some carried signs, such as "Build Bridges, Not Walls."

President Trump at times seemed to be pressing instead for a legislative solution, and had tweeted earlier that morning that if the administration prevailed, "a deal will be made with the Dems for them to stay!"

The Trump administration announced its plan to phase out the program in 2017, only for the federal courts to rule that it could not apply retroactively and that DACA should be restarted in full.

president donald trump announced his plans to terminate the daca program in 2017 © press
President Donald Trump announced his plans to terminate the DACA program in 2017

The White House fought back on those decisions, saying the president has broad authority over immigration enforcement policy.

The Justice Department had argued the DACA program is not working and is unlawful, and that the president should have the "absolute discretion" to adopt a revised overall immigration strategy.

A dozen states led by Texas were among the parties backing the administration.

DACA proponents have argued that Trump’s planned termination violates federal law requiring adequate notice-and-comment periods before certain federal rules are changed, as well as other constitutional equal protection and due process guarantees.

They say the government has given only cursory explanations for justifying DACA's demise.

By contrast, they say, the economic and social benefits for Dreamers and for the country are indisputable.

A host of civil rights groups filed separate briefs in support, along with several states including New York and California.

Joe Biden: DACA Illegal Aliens Are ‘More American Than Most Americans’

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