Supreme Court Denies Trump Administration’s Bid To End DACA Protections

DACA recipients and their supporters rally outside the U.S. Supreme Court on June 18, 2020 in Washington, DC. On Thursday morning, the Supreme Court, in a 5-4 decision, denied the Trump administration's attempt to end DACA, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.
Drew Angerer / Getty Images

On Thursday, the Supreme Court rejected the Trump administration’s bid to dismantle the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which protects nearly 700,000 undocumented immigrants brought into the country as children, known as dreamers.

“#SCOTUS rules against Trump administration in challenge to decision to end #DACA program, which allowed noncitizens brought to this country illegally as children to apply for protection from deportation, holding decision was arbitrary and capricious,” SCOTUSblog wrote in an announcement on Twitter.

The 5 to 4 decision was led by Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and supported by the four more liberal judges on the court, Justices Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and Stephen Breyer.

The administration of President Donald Trump argued that the program was illegal from the start, and Roberts explained that the court wasn’t deciding on the policy itself, but whether their argument was sufficient.

“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.”

DACA began under former President Barack Obama eight years ago. Initially, he was attempting to work with Congress to create a path to citizenship for children brought into the country, but negotiations ultimately fell flat.

The resulting program allows enrollees to work in the United States legally despite not having documentation, as long as they adhere to certain rules, such as being students, graduates, or being enrolled in the military. Currently, thousands of the so-called dreamers are employed in health care, working to tackle the coronavirus pandemic as it continues to spread across the country.

The program does not provide dreamers with a pass to citizenship.

Trump made the program one of the central tenants of his 2016 campaign, promising to terminate it once he was elected. His administration quickly began to challenge the program, and nearly every federal judge who has heard the arguments has sided against the administration’s reason for ending it, as USA Today reports.

It was expected that when the case was picked up by the Supreme Court, the ruling could end up supporting the administration’s bid to end the program, but Thursday’s ruling issued another blow to Trump’s anti-immigration promises.

The White House was also hit with another loss last year when the administration made a bid to add a question about citizenship to the 2020 census, which was also rejected.

This is the second major ruling this week on issues traditionally championed by progressives. The Supreme Court decided that workplace protections should extend to LGBTQ+ individuals, which means that workers can’t be fired based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.