US Supreme Court rules against Donald Trump’s bid to end ‘Dreamers’ immigrant program
The US Supreme Court has dealt President Donald Trump’s hardline immigration policies a major setback, ruling against his bid to end a program that protects hundreds of thousands of immigrants who entered the United States illegally as children from deportation.
- Those enrolled in the program are mostly young Hispanic adults
- The court found officials had not followed the right procedures to end the program
- It’s the second time this week a conservative Supreme Court justice has ruled against Mr Trump on a case
The justices on a 5-4 vote upheld lower court rulings that found that Mr Trump’s 2017 move to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, created in 2012 by his Democratic predecessor Barack Obama, was unlawful.
Conservative Chief Justice John Roberts joined the court’s four liberal judges in finding that the administration’s actions were “arbitrary and capricious” under a federal law called the Administrative Procedure Act.
The ruling means that the roughly 649,000 immigrants currently enrolled in DACA — who are mostly young Hispanic adults born in Mexico and other Latin American countries, and are often referred to as “Dreamers” — will remain protected from deportation.
What is DACA and why has Trump scrapped it?
An amnesty aimed at helping young immigrants stay in the US legally has been axed. Here’s what it will mean for thousands of young people known as Dreamers.
They will also remain eligible to obtain renewable two-year work permits.
The ruling does not prevent Mr Trump from trying to end the program again, however it is unlikely his administration will be able to end DACA before the November 3 election in which the president is seeking a second four-year term in office.
“We do not decide whether DACA or its rescission are sound policies. We address only whether the agency complied with the procedural requirement that it provide a reasoned explanation for its action,” Justice Roberts wrote.
The ruling marks the second time this week that Justice Roberts has ruled against Mr Trump in a major case, following Monday’s decision which found gay and transgender workers were protected under federal employment law.
In a tweet posted after the ruling was released, Mr Trump described the two decisions as “shotgun blasts into the face of people that are proud to call themselves Republicans or Conservatives.”
Tweeting further, Mr Trump said “a legal solution” was needed to address the Dreamer immigrants but gave no other details on how he planned to proceed.
He said he would be releasing a new list of “Conservative Supreme Court Justice nominees” by September 1, after saying in an earlier tweet “we need NEW JUSTICES of the Supreme Court”.
The court’s four other conservatives justices — including two Trump administration appointees, Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh — dissented.
“Today’s decision must be recognised for what it is: an effort to avoid a politically controversial but legally correct decision,” conservative Justice Clarence Thomas wrote in dissent.
The Trump administration has argued that Mr Obama exceeded his constitutional powers when he created DACA by executive action, bypassing Congress.
What is a Dreamer?
- A child of unauthorised immigrants to the US
- Many have gone to school in the US and identify as American
- Takes its name from an unpassed 2001 bill that would allow pathway to US citizenship
- Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) was designed to provide relief from threat of deportation
- A two-year, renewable DACA authorisation allows for reprieve from deportation, work rights, drivers’ licence and bank accounts
Source: National Immigration Law Centre
A collection of states including California and New York, along with people currently enrolled in DACA and civil rights groups, all filed suit to block Mr Trump’s plan to end the program.
Lower courts in California, New York and the District of Columbia ruled against Mr Trump and left DACA in place, finding that his move to revoke the program violated a US law called the Administrative Procedure Act.
Mr Trump has made his crackdown on legal and illegal immigration, including pursuing the construction of a wall along the US-Mexican border, a central part of his presidency and his 2020 re-election campaign.
Justice Roberts a year ago also cast the decisive vote in a Supreme Court loss for the Republican President, when the justices blocked Mr Trump’s administration from adding a citizenship question to the 2020 census that critics said was an effort to dissuade immigrants from taking part.