WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — The Supreme Court ruled on Thursday the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, better known as DACA, was illegally rescinded by the Trump Administration.
The court rejected President Donald Trump’s effort to end legal protections for 650,000 young immigrants, a stunning rebuke to the president in the midst of his reelection campaign.
The outcome seems certain to elevate the issue in Trump’s campaign, given the anti-immigrant rhetoric of his first presidential run in 2016 and immigration restrictions his administration has imposed since then.
The justices, in a 5-4 vote, rejected administration arguments that the 8-year-old Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program is illegal and that courts have no role to play in reviewing the decision to end DACA.
The court ruled the termination of DACA violated the Administrative Procedure Act (AP) by failing to adequately address the important factors bearing on the decision.
Chief Justice John Roberts wrote for the court that the administration did not pursue the end of the program properly.
“We do not decide whether DACA or its rescission are sound policies,“ Roberts wrote. “We address only whether the agency complied with the procedural requirement that it provide a reasoned explanation for its action. Here the agency failed to consider the conspicuous issues of whether to retain forbearance and what if anything to do about the hardship to DACA recipients.”
The Department of Homeland Security can try again, he wrote.
President Barack Obama announced DACA in 2012. Commonly known as “Dreamers” after the failed legislation that would have provided a path to citizenship, these immigrants have been in the U.S. since they were children.
Recipients went through extensive background screening to get two-year work permits and protection from deportation.
The Trump administration in 2017 announced the end of the program, resulting in legal challenges. Those already enrolled still have protections and can renew their two-year permits, but no one new can join.
Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont released a statement regarding the court decision saying,
“The Supreme Court affirmed today what we have been saying all along – Dreamers are members of our communities and any attempt to change that would be unjust and wrong. Tearing people from the only homes they have ever known is cruel, heartless, and – despite what the administration may claim – doesn’t even serve a national security purpose. As leaders elected to represent communities across our country, we should be doing everything in our power to make our country stronger, and this attempt to end the DACA program would have done the exact opposite. I applaud the Supreme Court for making the right decision today and giving Dreamers across our country the stability that they deserve.”Governor Ned Lamont
U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal released a statement regarding the court decision and his call for swift passage of the Dream Act,
“My heart soars – for our beautiful, great nation, and for millions of young wonderful immigrants who will make it even greater. The rule of law has won against mean-spirited lawless leaders, renewing trust in our courts. We should be inspired by this historic legal victory to radically reform the present broken immigration system. Comprehensive immigration reform is no less urgent and vital.”
“This ruling is a landmark legal victory that will prevent the immense heartbreak of draconian mass deportation, but can never erase the massive suffering caused by Trump’s cruel, illegal policies. Today is a welcome reprieve. Dreamers need and deserve permanent status and a pathway to citizenship. Congress must act now and pass the Dream Act.”Senator Richard Blumenthal
U.S. Senator Chris Murphy released statement regarding the court decision saying,
“For far too long, Dreamers and their loved ones have been living in limbo under the threat of deportation. It’s a relief that today’s Supreme Court decision ends some of this uncertainty and continues to protect Dreamers,” said Murphy. “But this is only a partial, temporary victory. The Trump administration has shown time and again its desire to attack immigrants, and it’s up to Congress to pass legislation that permanently protects Dreamers. I’ve met so many incredible Dreamers across Connecticut, who work hard every day to make our country better and contribute to our economy. The United States is a nation of immigrants, and we need to keep it that way.”Senator Chris Murphy
The Associated Press contributed to this report.