The Trump administration announced an end to the DACA program in Sept. 2017, but two federal courts have found that the manner in which it was ended was illegal. The Trump administration has resumed accepting DACA renewals for current recipients. The Department of Justice sought a direct review of the lower courts’ decisions from the Supreme Court, but the high court refused to hear its appeal. The program is likely to continue accepting renewals for months as the cases wind their way through the federal court system.
Why the End of DACA Was Found to Be Illegal
The Trump Administration made a sudden announcement on Sept. 5, 2017, that the DACA program would end in six months. While ruling that the Trump Administration does have the power to end DACA, the courts found that the reasons for which the Administration gave for doing so were insufficient. The Administration had argued that it was ending the program because it claimed that it was unlawful. However, the courts said that DACA was not unlawful and that the Administration would need to have sound reasons for ending it. Since Trump tweeted that the program could be extended, the courts pointed out that the rationale from the Department of Homeland Security for ending the program fell short.
What the Rulings Mean
The courts’ rulings mean that the Trump Administration has been forced to begin accepting renewal applications from DACA recipients again. The Administration does not have to accept new applications for DACA, however. While the twin cases move their way through federal court, DACA will continue. It is possible that Congress will act during the interim and pass legislation to save DACA. For now, current DACA recipients may continue working, serving in the military and enjoying the other benefits that they have received through the program. Because it is unclear what will happen to DACA through the legislative and court processes, however, the recipients might want to explore other avenues of legal immigration.