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UPDATE: Supreme Court Declines To Take Up DACA Yet, White House Says Will Keep Appealing

With the appealing process going to the Ninth Circuit, it could take until at least the summer for the court to rule, experts say. It’s unclear how the Supreme Court’s decision will affect Congress’ plans for immigration.

The U.S Citizenship and Immigration Services has resumed accepting requests to renew a grant of deferred action under the Obama-era DACA program, which shields from deportation young immigrants brought to the U.S. as children.
The U.S Citizenship and Immigration Services will have to accept applications of renewal for DACA after the Supreme Court decision, at least until the appeal process is over. In the image, a group of of people demonstrates for DACA in Texas.

The Supreme Court on Monday rejected the Trump administration’s highly unusual bid to bypass a federals appeals court and get the justices to intervene in the fate of a program that protects hundreds of thousands of young immigrants from deportation.

The announcement means the case affecting “Dreamers” will have to work its way through the lower courts before any Supreme Court ruling is possible. The case could also become moot if Congress takes action in the meantime. Right now, however, further congressional action is in doubt after the Senate stalemated on the issue two weeks ago.

The Supreme Court’s decision for now to stay out of the case on the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, wasn’t surprising. It’s highly unusual for the Supreme Court to hear a case before a lower appeals court has considered it.

But DACA supporters hailed the decision as a significant — if only temporary — win. President Donald Trump said the case would now be heard by an appeals court and “we’ll see what happens from there.”

“You know, we tried to get it moved quickly because we’d like to help DACA. I think everybody in this room wants to help with DACA,” he said to visiting governors. “But the Supreme Court just ruled that it has to go through the normal channels.”

DACA has provided protection from deportation and work permits for about 800,000 young people who came to the U.S. as children and stayed illegally.

In September, Trump argued that President Barack Obama had exceeded his executive powers when he created the program. Trump announced he was ending the program effective March 5 and gave lawmakers until then to come up with a legislative fix.

But in recent weeks, federal judges in San Francisco and New York have made Trump’s deadline temporarily moot for people who have sought and been granted renewals; the rulings do not extend to people who are applying for the first time. Judges issued injunctions ordering the administration to keep DACA in place while courts consider legal challenges to Trump’s termination. As a result, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services resumed accepting and processing DACA renewals in January, just as it had before Trump’s September announcement.

 

The March 5th deadline

The Trump administration has not tried to block the injunctions that force it to continue operating the program. Though the March 5 date is now moot, Greisa Martinez, policy and advocacy director for United We Dream, said DACA supporters planned to demonstrate in Washington on that day.

“Over 1,000 people will mobilize to Congress on March 5th because although you can apply to DACA based on the ruling, it doesn’t mean that you’ll have the protection of DACA,” Martínez said. 

The Supreme Court’s announcement Monday that it wouldn’t step in to the case now means the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit will likely be the first appeals court to weigh in on the topic, the step before the case would return to the Supreme Court.

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, who joined other states in lawsuits to keep DACA in place, cheered the Supreme Court announcement Monday.

“It’s a victory for all Dreamers, certainly a great victory for California,” Becerra said during a phone call with reporters. “It’s a victory for the rule of law and it’s a victory for our economy.”

The Ninth Circuit has set no date to hear arguments but has given lawyers dates by which they must file briefs that run through April. Andrew Pincus, an attorney who represents more than 100 businesses that intervened in support of DACA, said June is probably the earliest that the court would rule.

Trump on Monday didn’t seem to hold out much hope of winning at the Ninth Circuit, criticizing the liberal-leaning court by saying “nothing’s as bad as the Ninth Circuit.”

“I mean, it’s really sad when every single case filed against us is in the 9th Circuit we lose, we lose, we lose and then we do fine in the Supreme Court,” he said.

Houston ISD Superintendent Richard Carranza Statement on DACA:

The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to not hear the appeal of the decision requiring the federal government to keep DACA in place is good news for thousands of Houston-area families, students and teachers. We remain steadfast in our commitment to make sure every child, regardless of their immigration status, gets a high-quality education. Over the past several months, families have felt a great deal of anxiety and this court decision brings much-needed relief. We continue to support the dreams of our young people and their desire is to build a better life for themselves, their communities, and the nation as a whole.  

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