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Posted: February 26, 2018

What does the Supreme Court ruling mean for DACA recipients?

What is the DACA program?

By Debbie Lord, Cox Media Group National Content Desk

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday declined to hear an appeal by the Trump administration of a federal judge’s ruling that blocked, at least temporarily, the president from ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

The court declined to hear an appeal to the injunction ordered by U.S. District Judge William Alsup, that would keep the program in place past a March 5 date set by the administration to end it.

The High Court did not give a reason for its ruling, only saying it expected the lower court to “proceed expeditiously to decide this case.” The 9th U.S. Court of Appeals is hearing the case.

Under DACA, 700,000 young adults are protected from deportation and given work permits for two-year periods. They must re-apply for the program every two years.

What is DACA and why does Donald Trump want to end it?

Alsup’s Jan. 9 ruling came after former Secretary of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano, and the University of California filed a suit to stop the administration from ending the program. Napolitano is now president of the university.

In asking the Supreme Court to hear the case instead of letting it move as it normally would to an appeals court, Solicitor General Noel Francisco argued that, "The district court has entered an unprecedented nationwide injunction requiring the government not simply to tolerate, but to affirmatively sanction, a continuing violation of federal law by nearly 700,000 aliens.”

Here’s a look at what that ruling means.

What did the ruling say?

The order was brief and said, "It is assumed the court of appeals will act expeditiously to decide this case." That means that the Supreme Court believes the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals should hear the case first. The administration had asked the Supreme Court to rule on the legality of ending the program.

What does the ruling mean?

Basically, it means that the Department of Homeland Security must continue to accept DACA recipients’ applications to renew their status until the 9th Court of Appeals rules on the matter. That means those in the program – the “Dreamers” – will be able to continue to submit their applications to remain in the United States.

How does it affect the March 5 deadline? 

President Donald Trump had set March 5 as a deadline to begin shutting the program down. That date is null after the ruling. Applications will continue to be processed. 

What happens next?

One of two things will happen: Either Congress will pass legislation to extend, kill, or come up with another program, or the case will make its way through the court system with the certainty that it will come back to the Supreme Court for a final decision.


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