Supreme Court to Hear Trump Bid to Ditch ‘Dreamers’ Immigration Program
June 28, 2019, at 9:39 a.m.
BY LAWRENCE HURLEY
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Supreme Court on Friday agreed to decide whether President Donald Trump acted lawfully when he moved to end a program that protects from deportation hundreds of thousands of immigrants who were brought into the country illegally as children, a key element of his hardline immigration policies.
The nine justices took up the Trump administration’s appeals of lower court rulings in California, New York and the District of Columbia that blocked as unlawful his 2017 plan to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program implemented in 2012 by his Democratic predecessor Barack Obama.
The program currently shields about 700,000 immigrants often called “Dreamers,” mostly Hispanic young adults, from deportation and provides them work permits, though not a path to citizenship.
The conservative-majority Supreme Court will hear arguments and issue a ruling during its next term, which starts in October and runs through June 2020, meaning a decision could come in the thick of next year’s presidential race in which Trump is seeking re-election. Democratic presidential candidates including front-runner Joe Biden have pledged actions to protect the Dreamers and offer them citizenship.
Three federal district court judges issued orders halting Trump’s move to end DACA after lawsuits were filed by a group of states including California and New York, people protected by the program, civil rights groups and others challenging the legality of the Republican president’s move.
Trump, Republicans in Congress and Democratic lawmakers have been unable to hammer out a legislative deal to protect “Dreamers.” The Trump administration has argued that Obama exceeded his constitutional powers when he bypassed Congress and created DACA.
In the meantime, the program, in which those eligible can get renewable two-year work permits, remains in effect for people already enrolled. New applications are not being accepted by Trump’s administration. Since January 2018, the administration has issued more than 373,000 renewals, according to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services data.
“DACA reflects our nation’s commitment to helping hard-working people and creates hope and opportunity for a new generation – many of whom were brought to our country as toddlers,” said California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, a Democrat, who leads one of the legal challenges.
“So far, both lower courts in our legal fight to protect DACA have agreed with us that the Trump administration’s attempt to end it was unlawful,” Becerra added.
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