US Supreme Court Rejects Trump’s Administration Efforts to Dismantle DACA

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The Supreme Court in the case of Department of Homeland Security v Regents of the University of California, ruled 5-4 majority. The decision comes as a saving for almost 700,000 individuals. Trump administration cannot force removal of “the dreamers”.

Background

The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) is a program which protects unauthorized individuals who arrived to the United States as children. This was an initiative during the time of former president Barack Obama. It protected against the deportation of around 700,000 undocumented immigrants. These individuals became eligible for work authorization and other federal benefits. The Attorney General concluded these programs to be unlawful, in the year 2017. The Acting Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security took cognisance of it. She issued a memorandum in response. The order terminated the program. Hence, the affected individuals challenged the termination.

Government’s Argument

The Government argued that the claims were un-reviewable under the APA. Thus, depriving the Courts of jurisdiction. However, all the Courts rejected these claims. The government contended that 700,000 DACA recipients may request work authorization. That they are eligible for Social Security and Medicare. Moreover, there should be protection and regulation for access to such benefits. The respondents defended the decision taken by the Acting Secretary. The Section 1103(a)(1) states, determinations of the Attorney General “will be controlling.” Thus, she was bound by the Attorney General’s legal determination.

DACA recipients have no “legally cognizable reliance interests”. This is in the Government’s view, shared by the lead dissent. The DACA Memorandum stated that the program “conferred no substantive rights”. Also it provided benefits only in two-year increments.

Petitioner’s Argument

The petitioner argued that the Acting Secretary had violated the Administrative Procedure Act. Her decision did not consider major factors and implications. It was arbitrary and capricious in violation of the Administrative Procedure Act (APA). It infringed the equal protection guarantee of the Fifth Amendment’s Due Process Clause. There were nationwide preliminary injunctions. It did not need DHS to accept new applications. But, did order the agency to allow DACA recipients to “renew their enrolments.”

Court’s Opinion

Chief Justice Roberts delivered the opinion of the Court. Four other liberal judges backed him. Chief Justice Roberts wrote, the justifications given by the government was insufficient. He held them to be “arbitrary and capricious”. He also held that the administration should find adequate reasons for the same. The decision was purely based on the procedural irregularities. The Trump Administration may correct these irregularities. The Court’s decision is not a permanent solution but a temporary halt. The DACA itself allowed a two-year renewal. There was no pathway to citizenship through DACA. The administration has been asked for providing adequate reasoning. The status of the judgment might take a drastic change. This will take place once the administration provides for the reasons.

Court’s Decision

The Court held that Trump administration cannot immediately shut down the DACA program. It also allowed for the work permit for these 700,000 individuals.


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