On Monday morning, the Supreme Court declined to take up the Trump administration’s bid to overturn a lower court ruling blocking the administration’s termination of the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
“The petition for a writ of certiorari before judgment is denied without prejudice,” the justices wrote. “It is assumed that the Court of Appeals will proceed expeditiously to decide this case.”
The case will now proceed at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, where the Trump administration is seeking to overturn the lower court’s injunction. The Justice Department had attempted to bypass the 9th Circuit and go straight to the high court—a rare move. But in the wake of the Supreme Court’s inaction, the injunction still stands, meaning the Trump administration is forced to continue accepting and processing DACA renewal applications as the case winds its way through the appeals process.
How the courts decide the case will impact nearly 800,000 young immigrants who were brought to the United States as children, and whose lives are currently in limbo as the Trump administration works to strip them of their legal protections and Congress has failed to pass a bill to address their status.
When the Trump administration announced last year that it would move to terminate the DACA program—which offers a work permit and a renewable 2-year protection from deportation to those who qualify—several state attorneys general and advocacy groups immediately sued, arguing that the decision was based on the President’s documented animus toward immigrants rather than the law.
Two federal judges have now ruled against the Trump administration, in New York and in California, blocking the termination of DACA. U.S. District Judge William Alsup, seated in Northern California, wrote in January that it is “plausible” that “racial animus against people south of our border” motivated the administration to rescind the program’s protections, citing the President’s own statements about immigrants on the campaign trail and since taking office. He said the plaintiffs challenging the administration were likely to succeed in proving the decision to end DACA was made “arbitrarily and capriciously.”