Election Blow: U.S. Supreme Court blocks Trump bid end dreamers immigrant program
London, June 18, 2020 (AltAfrica)-The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday dealt a President Donald Trump a major setback on his hardline immigration policies, ruling against his bid to end a program that protects from deportation hundreds of thousands of immigrants, dubbed “Dreamers,” who entered the United States illegally as children.
The justices on a 5-4 vote upheld lower court rulings that found that Trump’s 2017 move to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, created in 2012 by his Democratic predecessor Barack Obama, was unlawful.
Conservative Chief Justice John Roberts joined the court’s four liberals in finding that the administrations actions were “arbitrary and capricious” under a federal law called the Administrative Procedure Act.
The ruling means that the roughly 649,000 immigrants, mostly young Hispanic adults born in Mexico and other Latin American countries, currently enrolled in DACA will remain protected from deportation and eligible to obtain renewable two-year work permits.
In a dissent joined by fellow conservatives Justices Samuel Alito and Neil Gorsuch, Justice Clarence Thomas wrote that the majority decision “must be recognized for what it is: an effort to avoid a politically controversial but legally correct decision.”
“Today the majority makes the mystifying determination that this rescission of DACA was unlawful. In reaching that conclusion, the majority acts as though it is engaging in the routine application of standard principles of administrative law. On the contrary, this is anything but a standard administrative law case,” Thomas wrote.
The ruling comes just days after the court ruled in favor of LGBT workers in a blockbuster gay rights case that held that employees may not be fired on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity. Gorsuch authored the opinion for the court in that case. He was joined by Roberts and the court’s liberals. The back-to-back wins for liberals are a surprising development from the court, which has 5-4 conservative majority.
The setback for the Trump administration comes less than five months before the 2020 election, where the president appears poised to pivot back to immigration as a central campaign issue.
In a Fox News interview Wednesday night, Trump said he will “soon” be traveling to the U.S.-Mexico border to tout the construction of a border wall. “I’m going to be at the wall very soon. We’re going to celebrate over 200 [miles built],” Trump said.
The ruling does not prevent Trump from trying again to end the program. But his administration is unlikely to be able to end DACA before the Nov. 3 election in which Trump is seeking a second four-year term in office.