Court rejects Trump bid to end young immigrants’ protections

Trump didn’t hold back in his assessment of the court’s work, hitting hard at a political angle.

“These horrible & politically charged decisions coming out of the Supreme Court are shotgun blasts into the face of people that are proud to call themselves Republicans or Conservatives. We need more Justices or we will lose our 2nd Amendment & everything else. Vote Trump 2020!” he wrote on Twitter, apparently including the LGBT ruling as well.

In a second tweet, he wrote: “Do you get the impression that the Supreme Court doesn’t like me?”

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. But any new order to end the program, and the legal challenge it would provoke, would take months, if not longer, immigration experts said.

The court’s four conservative justices dissented. Justice Clarence Thomas, in a dissent joined by Justices Samuel Alito and Neil Gorsuch, wrote that DACA was illegal from the moment it was created under the Obama administration in 2012. Thomas called the ruling “an effort to avoid a politically controversial but legally correct decision”.

Justice Brett Kavanaugh wrote in a separate dissent that he was satisfied that the administration acted appropriately in trying to end the program.

DACA recipients were elated by the ruling.

“We’ll keep living our lives in the meantime,” said Cesar Espinosa, who leads the Houston immigration advocacy group FIEL. “We’re going to continue to work, continue to advocate.”

Espinosa said he got little sleep overnight in anticipation of a possible decision on Thursday. In the minutes since the decision was posted, he said his group was “flooded with calls with Dreamers, happy, with that hope that they’re going to at least be in this country for a while longer”.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer celebrates with DACA recipients outside the US Supreme Court.Credit:AP

From the Senate floor, the Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said of the DACA decision: “I cried tears of joy.”

“Wow,” he went on, choking up. “These kids, these families, I feel for them, and I think all of America does.”

The program grew out of an impasse over a comprehensive immigration bill between Congress and the Obama administration in 2012. President Barack Obama decided to formally protect people from deportation while also allowing them to work legally in the US.

But Trump made tough talk on immigration a central part of his campaign and less than eight months after taking office, he announced in September 2017 that he would end DACA.

Immigrants, civil rights groups, universities and Democratic-led states quickly sued, and courts put the administration’s plan on hold.

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The Department of Homeland Security has continued to process two-year DACA renewals so that hundreds of thousands of DACA recipients have protections stretching beyond the election and even into 2022.

The Supreme Court fight over DACA played out in a kind of legal slow motion. The administration first wanted the justices to hear and decide the case by June 2018. The justices said no. The Justice Department returned to the court later in 2018, but the justices did nothing for more than seven months before agreeing a year ago to hear arguments. Those took place in November and more than seven months elapsed before the court’s decision.

Thursday’s ruling was the second time in two years that Roberts and the liberal justices faulted the administration for the way it went about a policy change. Last year, the court forced the administration to back off a citizenship question on the 2020 census.

AP

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