Immigration Law

DACA gavel

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The Trump administration’s decision to phase out a program that deferred deportation for some immigrants appears likely to survive U.S. Supreme Court review, according to several publications covering oral arguments Tuesday.

The Supreme Court considered three consolidated challenges to the government’s decision to rescind the program known as DACA, an acronym for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. The program, established during the Obama administration, defers deportation and grants work permits for immigrants brought to the country illegally as children.

The Washington Post reports that the government’s arguments “seemed to resonate with the court’s dominant conservatives.” Similarly, the New York Times and USA Today reported that a majority of the justices appeared ready to side with the Trump administration.

SCOTUSblog, however, reported that it wasn’t clear how the court would decide the case.

“Several justices appeared concerned that the Trump administration’s decision-making process had not adequately considered the effects of rescinding DACA, but on the other hand they weren’t necessarily convinced that sending the case back for a do-over would actually make much of a difference,” SCOTUSblog reported.

Arguing for the government, U.S. Solicitor General Noel Francisco contended that the administration’s decision to end DACA can’t be reviewed by the courts, and in any event the government had not violated the Administrative Procedure Act by ending the program.

Lower courts had ruled that Trump’s decision to end the program in 2017 was based on an erroneous assertion that President Barack Obama did not have the constitutional power to create the program through executive action. But the government also relied on a rationale that the government enforces immigration laws against all categories of immigrants.

Francisco told the justices that there was no need to ask the government to supply additional justification, according to the Washington Post story. “We own this,” Francisco said.

Former U.S. Solicitor General Theodore Olson defended the program. His co-counsel is 31-year-old Luis Cortes, who is a DACA recipient, CNN reported in advance of the arguments.

“I will be looking at nine individuals who will ultimately decide whether my clients will be deported and me with them,” Cortes told CNN.

Related articles:

ABA Journal: “Supreme Court taking on big issues that have been percolating for a while”

ABAJournal.com: “Chemerinsky: The stakes are enormous for immigrants in upcoming DACA cases”

ABAJournal.com: “Supreme Court to review rescission of DACA program for immigrants brought to US as children”