Supreme Court rejects Trump administration's appeal over DACA

DACA supporters march to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement office to protest shortly after U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions' announcement that the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), will be suspended with a six-month delay, on Tue., Sept. 5, 2017, in Phoenix. 


Last Updated Feb 26, 2018 12:32 PM EST

The Supreme Court is rejecting the Trump administration's highly unusual bid to get the justices to intervene in the controversy over protections for hundreds of thousands of young immigrants.

The justices on Monday refused to take up the administration's appeal of a lower court order that requires the administration to continue accepting renewal applications for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA. The DOJ appealed a lower court's decision in The Regents of the University of California and Janet Napolitano v. U.S. Department of Homeland Security and Elaine Duke, to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals and asked the U.S. Supreme Court take up the case directly late last month. 

The appeal came after a U.S. district court temporarily blocked the Trump administration from ending DACA, the program former President Barack Obama established to protect immigrants who came to the U.S. illegally as children. 

What made the appeal unusual is that the administration sought to bypass the federal appeals court in San Francisco to appeal directly to the Supreme Court.

Since then, a judge in New York also has ruled in favor of immigrants challenging the end of DACA.

In a brief unsigned comment, the justices said they assume "the court of appeals will proceed expeditiously to decide this case." The court order says applications must now be accepted indefinitely. DACA has provided protection from deportation and work permits for about 800,000 young people, many who were brought to the U.S. illegally.

President Trump, addressing the nation's governors Monday, complained that "nothing's as bad as the Ninth Circuit." He said of that particular appeals court that "every single case is against us" in the Ninth Circuit. "We'll see what happens from them," Mr. Trump said. 

The White House also issued a statement accusing the district court judge in the case of having "unwisely intervened in the legislative process" by acting while Congress is debating the policy. White House deputy press secretary Raj Shah also said, "We look forward to having this case expeditiously heard by the appeals court and, if necessary, the Supreme Court, where we fully expect to prevail."

In a statement from Department of Justice spokesman Devin O'Malley, the DOJ says they will continue to defend "DHS' lawful authority to wind down DACA in an orderly manner.

"While we were hopeful for a different outcome, the Supreme Court very rarely grants certiorari before judgment, though in our view it was warranted for the extraordinary injunction requiring the Department of Homeland Security to maintain DACA," O'Malley added.

In September, Mr. Trump said he would end the DACA program by March 5 but the court's ruling now delivers a blow to the administration's end date.  Congress still has yet to formally provide a fix the DACA program, with the Senate most recently rejecting all four immigration proposals brought to the Senate floor this month.