Supreme Court Agrees to Decide Whether White House Can End DACA

June 28, 2019 by Dan McCue
Christian Quintero at his home in Richardson, Texas, on June 13, 2019. Quintero is a Dreamer from Colombia, currently attending the University of Texas at Dallas. (Vernon Bryant/Dallas Morning News/TNS)

WASHINGTON – A day after ending their current term with a pair of controversial opinions, the U.S. Supreme Court said Friday it will decide next year whether the Trump administration can shut down Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, a program that shields 800,000 young, undocumented immigrants from deportation.

The Justices ordered that three cases on DACA be consolidated into one case, which they will hear some time after the start of their 2019 term, which begins October 7.

That means a ruling could be handed down in the spring, at the height of the presidential primary season, or in June, just ahead of the presidential nominating conventions.

President Donald Trump has been trying to scrap the program since early 2017, contending that his predecessor, President Barack Obama, had exceeded his constitutional powers when he intervened in deportations on behalf of immigrants who had been brought to the United States illegally as young children.

Since then, federal courts, in a series of rulings, have ordered the administration to continue the program while legal challenges move forward, and Trump himself has sent mixed messages on the issue.

On the one hand, he has assailed Obama for starting the program, but then delayed its termination while urging Congress to pass legislation to permanently protect so-called “Dreamers” from deportation.

That failed to come to pass after the White House and Capitol Hill failed to strike a deal that would have traded the fate of DACA for billions in funding for the wall Trump wants to build along the southwestern border.

Last November 2018, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals held that while Trump has the power to alter the politics of past administrations, the legal justification for the controversial move did not withstand scrutiny.

Then in May, the Fourth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, dealt Trump another loss, saying his attempt to end DACA was “arbitrary and capricious,” and violated the Administrative Procedure Act.

Trump has been pushing for a Supreme Court review since the beginning of the controversy. The White House first sought review of the case in early January 2018, well before the appeals courts had weighed in.

The administration tried again in November 2018 — before the Ninth Circuit ruled on the matter — but the justices again decided to take no action.

As is their custom, the justices did not explain their rationale for taking up the consolidated cases.

The three cases are Dept. of Homeland, Et al. v. Regents of University of Calif., et. al. No. 18-587; Trump, President of U.S., et. al. v NAACP, et. al. No. 18-588; and McAleenan, Sec. of Homeland v. Vidal, Martin J., et al. No 18-589.

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