By failing to take action this week on a Trump Administration appeal, the U.S. Supreme Court leaves DACA protections in place for at least the remainder of the year. By way of background, in mid-2017, former Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the wind down of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which offered those who were brought to the U.S. as minors the opportunity to remain in the United States with valid work authorization. Activists around the U.S. challenged the legal rationale behind dismantling DACA, filing suit in various district courts. In response, federal judges temporarily reinstated the DACA program through preliminary injunctions, protecting the status of over 800,000 immigrants living and working in the U.S. Therefore, the Trump Administration appealed the federal court decisions, hoping that the Supreme Court would accept the case and decide on the constitutionality of the DACA program.
As of Tuesday, January 22, 2019, the Supreme Court declined to hear the case (certiorari) for this term. This means that the DACA program will continue as-is, with USCIS accepting renewal applications for the indefinite future. If the Supreme Court does decide to eventually accept the case, it will not be heard until the next term, which begins October 1, 2019. Further it would most likely take several months for the Court to issue a decision. Immigration activists around the country are calling this a victory, as the DACA program is protected for at least one more year.
The DACA program, in addition to Temporary Protected Status, was recently cited by President Trump as a bargaining chip in exchange for Congressional funding to build a wall on the U.S-Mexico Border, in an attempt to come to agreement to end the Government Shutdown. It appears, however, that the DACA program will be in effect for another year, according to the actions of the Supreme Court. This (lack of a) decision greatly changes the contours of shutdown negotiations.
Green and Spiegel is closely monitoring the developments and negotiations regarding the DACA program. If you have any questions, please contact us immediately.