During its next term beginning October 2019, the U.S. Supreme Court will decide whether the Trump Administration had the authority to terminate the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. The Court announced today that it will consolidate review of three lawsuits challenging the termination of the program. A ruling could be issued as late as Spring or Summer 2020.
Last year, federal district courts in California, New York and Washington D.C. temporarily blocked the Trump administration’s decision to rescind DACA, each imposing nationwide injunctions that require the Department of Homeland Security to continue to accept DACA application renewals while the legal challenges moved forward. To date, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld the California district court’s ruling, while appeals in the Second Circuit and the D.C. Circuit remain under review. Separately, the Fourth Circuit appeals court ruled against the government’s termination of DACA in May 2019.
There is also a pending Texas district court case challenging the validity of the program, set for arguments in the coming year.
The Supreme Court has previously declined the government’s requests to fast-track review of DACA lawsuits; its willingness to hear the government’s appeal next term establishes a timeframe for Congress and the White House to develop a solution for DACA recipients before the Court rules on the fate of the program.
In a related development, earlier this month, the U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation that would provide a path to permanent residence and U.S. citizenship for certain foreign nationals eligible for DACA, along with other groups. The legislation does not have the support of the Trump administration.
There will be no change to current implementation of the DACA program as a result of the Supreme Court decision to review the issue. DHS will continue to accept DACA renewal applications until further notice, and DACA grantees with upcoming expirations should apply to renew their status promptly.
As a reminder, DHS will not accept applications from foreign nationals making their first DACA application. Those who have not previously received DACA benefits will continue to be ineligible to apply for DACA.