Appeals court rules against Trump administration’s effort to end DACA

Blanche Robertson
November 9, 2018

A U.S. appeals court has ruled the Trump administration must continue a programme begun under former president Barack Obama that protects hundreds of thousands of young immigrants who are in the country illegally.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit ruled to uphold a nationwide injunction on Thursday, saying that the Trump administration had not given adequate reasoning to back up its decision to terminate the protections and that the Obama administration had not acted outside of its powers, as the current administration has alleged.

Lawsuits by California and others challenging the Trump administration's decision will continue in federal court while the injunction remains in place.

Since the Obama administration first implemented the DACA program in 2012, an estimated 800,000 Americans who were brought to the USA under the age of 16 and have lived in the US since 2007 - often colloquially known as "Dreamers" - have benefitted from its protections, according to the Wall Street Journal.

In January, U.S. District Judge William Alsup granted a request to keep DACA operational while its future was being litigated.

Last year, the Trump administration announced its plan to phase out the program, but federal courts have ruled that the phase-out could not apply retroactively and that the program should be restarted.

Trump has taken a stern stance against illegal immigration.

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In April, a third federal judge, in Washington, D.C., also ruled against the administration.

During a hearing in May, Deputy Assistant Attorney General Hashim Mooppan argued that the courts could not review the administration's decision to end DACA and defended the move against assertions that it was arbitrary and capricious.

An email to the U.S. Department of Justice was not immediately returned. The administration in February unsuccessfully appealed Alsup's ruling to the Supreme Court.

The judges on the 9th Circuit panel appeared skeptical of the argument that the DACA decision was beyond the court's authority to review.

Wardlaw noted at the previous hearing that another appeals court had reviewed a similar Obama administration immigration policy. The Trump administration is seeking to convince the Supreme Court to consolidate those cases because they make the same substantive objections to the planned DACA rollback, and toss them all out on the merits. Indeed the Justice Department earlier this month had asked the high court to hear a series of DACA cases even before they were decided in lower courts, saying it was critical the justices tackle the matter this term.

"Had the judge not ruled that way, I think we would have made a deal", Trump said at a news conference.

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