On Thursday, a U.S. appeals court blocked President Trump from ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.
The decision said the White House’s arguments for discarding DACA were based on flawed legal theory.
ABC News reports that the three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals was unanimous in its decision to keep a preliminary injunction against a proposed DACA termination. The court also suggested that lawsuits filed against the phase-out are likely to succeed.
“We conclude that plaintiffs are likely to succeed on their claim that the rescission of DACA—at least as justified on this record—is arbitrary, capricious, or otherwise not in accordance with law,” opined Judge Kim McLane Wardlaw, a Clinton appointee.
The administration said it planned to end the Obama-era program in September 2017. DACA is intended to protect young adults who came to the United States illegally as children. In order to qualify for the program, applicants had to pass a background check and serve in the U.S. military or have particular educational qualifications.
But the Thursday case, notes CNN Politics, doesn’t concern the legality of DACA. Instead, it centers on how the Trump administration arrived at its decision to cancel the program.
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, who helped file the suit, said the ruling represents a “tremendous victory” for “our young immigrant Dreamers.”
“The fight, of course, is far from over,” Becerra said in a statement. “We will continue to defend Dreamers and DACA all the way to the Supreme Court if necessary.”
And that may be exactly what Becerra may have to do. The Justice Department has already asked the Supreme Court to review the 9th Circuit’s decision, arguing that DACA allows “700,000 aliens to remain in the United States even though existing laws provided them no ability to do so.”
Trump—who’s repeatedly flip-flopped on DACA and Dreamers—said the Obama-era program was implemented illegally. The Department of Homeland Security has echoed that, saying the policy was ended “based on serious doubts about its legality and the practical implications of maintaining it.”
President Trump has blamed the protracted legal battle on Democrats, saying they prevent the White House from reaching a deal with Congress.
Numerous attempts to push through DACA-related legislation last autumn failed. Trump, who initially claimed to be in favor of protecting Dreamers from deportation, later demanded that funding for a “border wall” be provided before he’d sign off a bill.
Legislative efforts to reform or recreate DACA have fizzled since a federal judge ordered the Department of Homeland Security to continue processing applications and residency permit renewals for program recipients.
“Had the judge not ruled that way, I think we would have made a deal,” Trump said. “Once the judge ruled that way, the Democrats didn’t want to talk anymore. So we’ll see how it works out at the Supreme Court.”