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SCOTUS Decision on "Dreamers" Expected Soon

WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 12: Mart�n Batalla Vidal (C) stands with fellow DACA recipients during a press conference to discuss the Supreme Court case involving Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) at the U.S. Capitol on November 12, 2019 in Washington, D.C. On Tuesday morning, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in a case related to President Donald Trumps decision of ending the DACA program. The justices are considering whether the Trump administration can end a program that shields around 700,000 young immigrants from deportation from the United States. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
By Laura Temme, Esq. | Last updated on

The Supreme Court had a lot of high-profile cases on its plate this term. One of them is being closely watched by hundreds of thousands of people whose lives in America hang in the balance - the "Dreamers" - who benefit from the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA).

A recent CBS News poll found that 85% of Americans are in favor of allowing children brought to the United States illegally to stay in the country. But the program has long been in the cross-hairs of the Trump Administration. Now, it's up to the Supreme Court to decide how and when the program could end.

How Did We Get Here?

The DACA program grants work permits and protection from deportation to people brought into the country illegally as children. Created by President Barack Obama in 2012, nearly 650,000 people are enrolled in the program nationwide.

During his time as Attorney General, Jeff Sessions concluded that President Obama had exceeded his constitutional powers by creating the program through executive order. President Trump announced plans to eliminate the program in 2017, a decision that has faced challenges in the courts ever since.

Lower Courts Decide Against Trump

More than ten lawsuits were filed to block Trump's decision. Claims came from state governments, including New York and California, and the NAACP, as well as the Regents of the University of California.

Although the plaintiffs in these cases acknowledge that new administrations have the authority to replace old policies with new, they argue that the program cannot be phased out without following Administrative Procedure Act (APA) requirements.

The lawsuits focus on two essential questions:

1. Is the decision to rescind DACA judicially reviewable?

2. Did the Department of Homeland Security violate the requirements of the Administrative Procedure Act?

Three lower court rulings granted injunctions against the Trump administration, requiring DACA renewal applications to be processed while these cases made their way through the courts.

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the preliminary injunctions, finding that the plaintiffs were likely to succeed on their claims. The Ninth Circuit also held that neither the Immigration and Nationality Act nor the APA barred judicial review of the decision to end the DACA program.

The Supreme Court heard oral arguments on the challenges in November and is expected to release an opinion any day.

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