Supreme Court Refuses White House's Request To Weigh In On DACA — At Least For Now

The court's decision means DACA remains in effect for the time being.

In a move that could be seen as good news for Dreamers and proponents of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA), the Supreme Court refused the Trump administration's request to expedite the legal debate surrounding DACA by having a hearing for a California lawsuit concerning President Trump's decision to end the program in September 2017. 

The unusual request from the Justice Department was an attempt to skip the appeals court process to get a definitive ruling on the matter. However, now that the Supreme Court has refused to hear the case, it has all but guaranteed that the program will remain at least until the fall of this year as the case is dealt with in the Court of Appeals. "It is assumed that the Court of Appeals will proceed expeditiously to decide this case," the Court also said in a statement.

Shutterstock / Sheila Fitzgerald
Shutterstock / Sheila Fitzgerald

The decision has been met with varying responses. Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi — who delivered a record-setting eight-hour speech on the House floor in defense of DACA — chimed in on Twitter that the decision was "welcome news." Similarly, National Immigration Law Center Executive Director Marielena Hincapié celebrated the decision and declared, "Today is a good day!" 

Meanwhile, White House Press Secretary Raj Shah remarked in a statement, "The DACA program — which provides work permits and myriad government benefits to illegal immigrants en masse — is clearly unlawful." 

For DACA recipients, the decision can be seen as a victory, however temporary it might be. As the legal battle wages on, those who were protected from deportation or provided work permits can apply to renew their participation in the program.

"This temporary decision is, nonetheless, a great legal victory on behalf of the DACA recipients, who have been hanging by a thread, wondering if their permits would expire in a week," executive director of voter registration group Mi Familia Vota Ben Monterroso told USA Today.

It also means that Congress has more time to work on a compromise to protect DACA enrollees, a process that has become contentious in the past few months, even leading to a brief government shutdown in January.

Thought it will still be in effect for those previously enrolled in the program, new DACA applicants — including those Dreamers who would otherwise be aging into the program, will not be accepted.

Cover image via AhXiong / Shutterstock.com.

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