The Supreme Court ruled Thursday that the Trump Administration could not immediately proceed with its plan to dismantle the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA). The decision tears down a key aspect of President Trump’s restrictive immigration agenda.
President Obama formed DACA by executive order in 2012. The program protects some 700,000 young immigrants, known as the Dreamers. Their undocumented parents brought them to the United States when they were children. Dismantling DACA was a key promise in Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, and he attempted to end the program starting when he first entered office.
But the Supreme Court’s decision dealt a harsh blow to Trump’s anti-immigration agenda, sparing the 700,000 Dreamers from deportation for the time-being. Chief Justice John Roberts wrote the Court’s opinion, joined by the body’s four liberal-leaning justices. Still, the Court’s ruling is not a permanent fix to the question of extended protection for childhood immigrants.
“We do not decide whether DACA or its rescission are sound policies,” the Chief Justice wrote. “We address only whether the agency complied with the procedural requirement that it provide a reasoned explanation for its action.” The Trump Administration, according to Roberts, did not offer sufficient rationale for ending the program.
Attempt to End the Program
Back in September 2017, Trump gave only a single reason for terminating DACA. He claimed that creating or maintaining such a program was beyond the legal powers of the president, implying that Obama had overreached when he enacted DACA in the first place. But the Supreme Court ruled that by precedent, President Trump needs to release a more thorough justification for ending such a program.
Still, the Trump Administration could choose to draft a more in-depth explanation and attempt to take down DACA once again. But such a controversial move is unlikely five months before the presidential election.
Thursday’s ruling is the second high-profile decision this week that has pleased liberals. On Monday, the Court ruled in a 6-3 decision that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects LGBT employees from workplace discrimination. The ruling on DACA, however, was more divisive. Chief Justice Roberts was joined in consent by Justices Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Stephen Breyer, Elena Kagan, and Sonia Sotomayor. Dissenting were conservative-leaning Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, Neil Gorsuch, and Brett Kavanaugh.