Washington (CNN)The Supreme Court on Tuesday once again did not act on the Trump administration’s effort to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, leaving protections for nearly 700,000 undocumented immigrants who came to the US as children in place for at least the next several months.
The court’s inaction is a loss for the Trump administration that had asked for the justices to take up the issue this fall and comes as the President has tried to exchange protections in exchange for a border wall.
“The justices’ refusal to act on the government’s pending appeals in the DACA litigation means, among other things, that President Trump can’t use this litigation, at least for now, for leverage in negotiations over the government shutdown,” said Steve Vladeck, CNN Supreme Court analyst and professor of law at the University of Texas School of Law.
Even if the court agrees to take up these cases, the earliest it would hear them now is this fall, with no decision until early 2020,” Vladeck added. “That kicks the debate over DACA back to the political branches.”
On Saturday, Trump proposed a deal that would extend temporary protections to DACA recipients and immigrants with temporary protected status in exchange for his border wall. The offer was a reversal from his previous position of leaving the program in the hands of the Supreme Court.
The issue facing the Supreme Court is not the legality of the program, but the way the Trump administration wanted to terminate it.
In September 2017, then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the phase-out of DACA, arguing that it was created “without proper statutory authority.” Acting Homeland Security Secretary Elaine Duke then formally rescinded the program. Under the administration’s original plan, protections would have begun to expire in March 2018. But a slew of legal challenges and subsequent court rulings have kept the program alive.