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Supreme Court ruled on Thursday the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, better known as DACA, was illegally rescinded by the Trump Administration.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.
Pennsylvania Attorney General Shapiro said, “The Supreme Court made clear today that DACA is the law of the land. Dreamers are Americans. I fought hard in court to protect the 5,900 remarkable young people across Pennsylvania from the discriminatory ambitions of the Trump Administration. The emotional roller coaster the Administration has put these Dreamers on was wrong but today they received justice. The Trump Administration’s arbitrary and cynical reversal of DACA was illegal — and this decision affirms that.”
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.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.