After a federal district court ruled U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) must reopen processing of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) renewal requests, the White House seeks an appellate review. The legal action from the Department of Justice (DOJ) entails a notice of appeal to the U.S Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit as well as a special petition directly to the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS).
The developments serve as the next act in an immigration fight brought to the fore with the election of President Donald Trump. In September, the president announced an end to the program, which signed into existence through a 2012 executive order issued by former President Barack Obama. Since then, DACA has provided deportation protection to an estimated 800,000 undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as children.
With the announcement on the end of the program, the president said Congress must step up to the task of addressing immigration laws. In other words, he said, giving legal status to DACA recipients– Dreamers– is suited to elected officials in Congress and not in the scope of the current occupant of the Oval Office.
“It defies both law and common sense for DACA– an entirely discretionary non-enforcement policy that was implemented unilaterally by the last administration after Congress rejected similar legislative proposals,” according to Attorney General Jeff Sessions in a statement on the new lawsuit. Sessions points out the wind-down period for DACA, scheduled to end March, was intended to provide Congress the opportunity to pass DACA or other immigration legislation. “We are now taking the rare step of requesting direct review on the merits of this injunction by the Supreme Court so that this issue may be resolved quickly and fairly for all parties involved,” Sessions said.
While Democrats push to pass legislation to provide a lifeline to Dreamers, Republican insistence around border security funding as a precondition of DACA-type legislation means plenty of roadblocks still exist in extending protection efforts.
The president’s decision to rescind DACA “was never about the rule of law,” Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez reportedly said. “It was about deporting Dreamers and using them as bargaining chips in future political negotiations while holding their futures hostage.”