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DOJ to Ask Supreme Court to Allow DACA Repeal

Supporters of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program demonstrate in front of the White House last September after President Trump ordered an end of DACA protections but gave Congress six months to act. (Pablo Martinez Monsivais / AP)

Describing it as a “rare step,” the Department of Justice announced Tuesday that it will ask the Supreme Court to allow the Trump administration to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, the Obama-era policy that allows undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children to remain in the country.

The Washington Post reports:

The Trump administration said it has appealed [a] judge’s injunction — which said the Obama-era program must continue for now — to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit.

But the Justice Department will also petition the Supreme Court later this week to intervene in the case, an unusual action that would allow the government to bypass the 9th Circuit altogether in its bid to phase out the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program starting in March.

“It defies both law and common sense for DACA—an entirely discretionary non-enforcement policy that was implemented unilaterally by the last administration after Congress rejected similar legislative proposals and courts invalidated the similar DAPA [Deferred Action for Parents of Americans] policy—to somehow be mandated nationwide by a single district court in San Francisco,” Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in a written statement.

Earlier this month, a California judge issued an injunction that allowed DACA recipients, known as “Dreamers,” to maintain their deportation protections while the program goes through legal challenges. After the injunction, President Trump responded on Twitter, writing: “It just shows everyone how broken and unfair our Court System is when the opposing side in a case (such as DACA) always runs to the 9th Circuit and almost always wins before being reversed by higher courts.”

A week after the injunction was issued, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services said it would accept renewal applications from DACA recipients, and the Mission Asset Fund tweeted that it would pay the $495 renewal fee on behalf of Dreamers for whom the fee posed a hardship. However, a statement on the Mission Asset Fund’s website says that, effective Jan. 15, “Due to limited funding … we are placing new applications received on a waitlist. … Meanwhile, we encourage you to seek support from other sources. …”

In asking the Supreme Court to review the judge’s injunction decision before the lower court rules on it, the Trump administration is effectively skipping a judicial step.

The Washington Post continues:

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra (D), who filed one of the federal lawsuits that led to the temporary injunction, said Tuesday he was confident that the higher courts will uphold the judge’s order.

“The unlawful action by the Trump Administration to terminate DACA impacts the lives and livelihood of hundreds of thousands [of] Dreamers, their colleagues, our universities, our businesses and our economy,” Becerra said in a statement.

Ambar Pinto, a 24-year-old Alexandria, Va., resident and DACA recipient whose parents brought her to the United States from Bolivia when she was 12, told The Washington Post: “Republicans today have a choice: To follow the leadership of Donald Trump or to come out and understand that it’s not okay what’s happening. They need to make a choice. We can no longer wait. They need to do it now.”

Many other Dreamers have applied pressure to their representatives in Congress to protect themselves from deportation. In November, activists organized a national day of action for immigration reform. In December, protesters occupied the office of Sen. Chuck Schumer, demanding that he live up to his voiced support of Dreamers; the Senate minority leader had called for a spending bill that would include a new DREAM Act with a path to permanent status for DACA recipients. On Tuesday, more than 300 immigrants with DACA protections went to Capitol Hill to lobby Republican senators to pass immigration reform legislation that would give them U.S. citizenship.

The New York Times reports that after President Trump “used vulgar language to describe why he does not want people from certain countries in Africa and the Caribbean to immigrate to the United States, chances for a broad deal on immigration and spending began to unravel in Congress, increasing the likelihood of a government shutdown unless lawmakers reach a short-term spending agreement that puts off the big decisions.”

Emily Wells
​Emily Wells is an Ear to the Ground blogger at Truthdig. As a journalist, she began as a crime reporter at the Pulitzer-winning daily newspaper, The Press-Enterprise...
Emily Wells

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