The Supreme Court on Thursday blocked the White House from terminating an Obama-era program designed to protect young immigrants from deportation.
President Trump rescinded the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program in 2017, five years after it was created by former President Barack Obama. Under DACA, noncitizens brought to the country as children could apply for protection from deportation.
Thursday’s decision affects hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants, some of whom were working on the frontlines of the coronavirus pandemic as they awaited this decision.
Chief Justice John Roberts joined the four liberal-leaning justices on the court in a 5-4 ruling finding that the decision to end DACA was “arbitrary and capricious under the Administrative Procedure Act.”
“We do not decide whether DACA or its rescission are sound policies,” Roberts wrote in the majority opinion, adding, “We address only whether the agency complied with the procedural requirement that it provide a reasoned explanation for its action.”
Those using the DACA program had been allowed to renew their status due to legal challenges that had kept the program running as the case worked its way to the Supreme Court. Thursday’s ruling stated that while the administration may have the power to rescind DACA, it didn’t follow correct procedures in doing so.
The administration can still fight to end the program, but after the Supreme Court ruling, it will be forced to head back to the lower courts. That means the fate of DACA is unlikely to be decided before the November election, although Trump said Thursday afternoon he is “asking for a legal solution” and “we have to start this process all over again.”