For the past two years federal courts have been the only check against President Trump’s efforts to crack down on immigration. Now that Democrats have won back the House of Representatives in the recent midterm elections, many Americans expect more accountability. One of the most important issues being the survival of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and the Temporary Protected Status (TPS). Back in September, Federal courts ordered the administration to keep both programs, but the Supreme Court, now featuring two Trump appointees, could change everything. So what does this mean for DACA moving forward?
After President Trump asked the Supreme Court to rule on DACA this week, a federal appeals court upheld a lower court’s temporary order preventing President Trump from ending DACA.
— ABC News (@ABC) November 8, 2018
On Nov. 8, a U.S. appeals court ruled that President Trump’s decision to rescind the DACA program is unlawful. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals blocked Trump from ending DACA protections for undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children.
The 9th Circuit decision preserves the program for the moment but will require the administration to continue accepting DACA renewal applications. The court ruled that Trump’s decision to end DACA program was likely “arbitrary, capricious, or otherwise not in accordance with law.” The court also noted that “plaintiffs have stated a plausible equal protection claim,” showing plaintiffs’ allegations that “the rescission of DACA disproportionately impacts Latinos and individuals of Mexican heritage, who account for 93 percent of DACA recipients.”
With the Supreme Court in Trump’s favor, what does this mean for the future of DACA?
On the surface, this looks like good news for DACA recipients.
In reality, it means that the Trump admin can now appeal this decision to the Republican Supreme Court where the Court will likely vote along party lines against DACA. https://t.co/yVtKesSd2w
— Ian Millhiser (@imillhiser) November 8, 2018
With the lower courts ruling in favor of DACA, the case will likely be argued in front of the Supreme Court. There have now been three different rulings in three different circuit courts against the administration. The administration is appealing all of the decisions. This is the first ruling at the appeals court level. The Trump administration wants to get the case on the justices’ agenda for the current term, which ends in June 2019.
There is only is so much Democrats can do when it comes to the legality of DACA now that they control the House. Democrats can mostly serve as a roadblock against Trump’s continued efforts to limit immigration. Issues like the current troop deployment to the southern border and supposed border wall will require funding which is something Democrats can control through the budgeting process.
The Supreme Court will likely take up the DACA case in Spring 2019.
— United We Dream Action (@UNITEDWEDREAM) November 8, 2018
The 9th Circuit ruling doesn’t change anything right away, but it’s important because it means that the Supreme Court is likely to take up DACA. With a five-justice conservative majority, it is entirely possible that the Supreme Court will overturn the 9th Circuit’s ruling and allow DACA to end. The DACA case would be scheduled for oral arguments sometime in early 2019 and a ruling could be handed down before the end of the Supreme Court’s term in June 2019.
Current recipients of DACA probably have a few more months to renew their application and work permits. After that there is uncertainty of what comes next for the 700,000 that are under the program.