The U.S. Supreme Court took no action Tuesday on a program that shields from deportation hundreds of thousands of young people who came to the United States as children.
Not adding DACA to the cases to be reviewed likely signals that the high court will not take up the issue during its current term that ends in June. The court’s nine judges will next consider docket cases in mid-February.
Even if they agree to hear the DACA case then, it will not get on the docket until the October term.
This is a victory for the more than 700,000 young people in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Lower court rulings have left the program in place and allowed recipients to renew their status, which lets them stay in the U.S. and attend school or work. Each renewal gives DACA recipients, known as Dreamers, another two years of legal status.
“For today, we will celebrate this important milestone,” wrote Todd Schulte, president of FWD.us, a bipartisan political organization. Schulte cautioned, “We have no doubt that the administration will take extraordinary measures to end this program, and the court could still agree to take up this case at a later date, so we urge Dreamers who are eligible to renew their DACA as soon as possible.”
The Supreme Court’s lack of action puts renewed pressure on the Trump administration. President Donald Trump offered Saturday to extend the DACA program for three years in a bid to negotiate with Democrats in exchange for funding a wall on the border between the U.S. and Mexico. The offer was a bid to reopen the federal government, which has been partially shut down since December 22.
Three years is not much of an extension when DACA recipients can continue to renew for two years, unless the lower courts or Supreme Court take further action. The Supreme Court's move ends much of Trump's bargaining power on DACA.
Newly-elected Democratic House Representative Ilhan Omar never supported the president’s deal. She reacted forcefully on Tuesday.
“The president thinks he can use DACA recipients, whose status is only threatened because of him, as pawns in his quest to build a xenophobic and racist wall that’s designed to keep immigrants out of this country. He thinks he can hold the salaries of hundreds of thousands of federal workers hostage to build this symbol of hate.” Omar is the first Somali-American elected to Congress.
Trump tried to end DACA in September 2017, but since then, federal judges have kept the program active while it makes its way through the courts.
In November, a U.S. appeals court upheld a lower court’s ruling to keep DACA alive. The court ruled that the rescission of DACA was “not in accordance with law” and noted “the cruelty and wastefulness of deporting productive young people to countries with which they have no ties.”
Maintaining that DACA was an illegal program established through a misuse of presidential authority, the Trump administration had tried to circumvent the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals by going straight to the Supreme Court early last year.
And the president had relied on the high court to uphold his position, tweeting in late December after the shutdown began that the appeals court ruling had prevented a DACA-for-wall deal, “thereby setting up a Supreme Court case. After ruling, Dems dropped deal - and that’s where we are today, Democrat obstruction of the needed Wall.”
The reason the DACA for Wall deal didn’t get done was that a ridiculous court decision from the 9th Circuit allowed DACA to remain, thereby setting up a Supreme Court case. After ruling, Dems dropped deal - and that’s where we are today, Democrat obstruction of the needed Wall.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 27, 2018