Monday morning, U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear the Trump Administration’s appeal of a lower court’s ruling that it had abused its power when Trump signed an order that would terminate Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). That means that for now, DACA renewals will remain possible beyond the March 5 deadline that the administration created.
The Supreme Court decision should not be construed as an embrace of DACA, though. The administration appealed Judge William Alsup’s lower court decision to the Ninth Circuit, but it also appealed directly to the Supreme Court before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals had ruled. Such appeal—“certiorari before judgment”—is a process used typically in cases of national crisis, and because administration lawyers could not demonstrate a state of emergency that would necessitate variating from the traditional appeals process, the appeal was denied. Now attention returns to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to see how it rules.
In the meantime, administration lawyers did not request an immediate stay of DACA actions, so those in DACA can renew their status for another two years.
DACA’s future remains uncertain because the program is likely to continue to be a target for the Trump administration and immigration hard-liners. Those who currently enjoy DACA protection should consult with a reputable immigration attorney to see what options may be available to them. Monday’s ruling bought DACA recipients time but not security.