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Trump Defies Supreme Court, Tells Administration Officials to Reject New DACA Applications

— July 28, 2020

The president’s directive comes scarcely 10 days after the Supreme Court ordered the administration to resume processing DACA applications.

Although the Supreme Court has ordered the federal government to resume processing new applications for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, President Donald Trump has promised to crack down on DACA recipients.

The president’s directive comes mere days after the Supreme Court found his administration’s previous attempts to end DACA unlawful. In their ruling, the justices said that, while Trump likely has authority to end the program, he must have a rational reason for doing so.

And, according to the Supreme Court, President Trump’s decision to end DACA did not appear to have sufficient underlying rationale.

Now, the president is purportedly directing a plan to review the justices’ verdict—and find a way around it. In the meantime, Trump is still keenly interested in killing off DACA, an Obama-era program which shields over a half-million young immigrants from deportation.

In fact, Trump appears so eager to end the program that he is willing to disregard the Supreme Court’s ruling outright.

New Yorkers protest against a scheduled repeal of DACA in September. Image via Harrie van Veen/Flickr. Image (CCA-BY-2.0).

USA Today notes that, no matter the judiciary’s finding, the administration has released guidance directing new DACA applications to be unilaterally rejected.

The new policy, explained in a Department of Homeland Security memo, allows current DACA recipients to continue renewing their legal status—but it makes no concessions for new applicants.

DACA, as LegalReader’s reported, provides temporary, renewable residency and work permits for undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States as minors. Under DACA, prospective applicants must meet federally-defined to be protected from deportation. Among other things, DACA recipients—commonly called “Dreamers”—must be able to pass a background check and must have attained a certain level of education (or, alternatively, have served in the military).

Despite the president’s that DACA end, Trump has recently claimed that whatever plan his administration comes up with will make “everyone” happy. That’s because the president is purportedly considering a path to citizenship for Dreamers already enrolled in DACA.

“We are going to make […] the DACA people and representatives happy, and we’re also going to end up with a fantastic, merit-based immigration system,” Trump said on Tuesday.

However, the administration’s previous attempts to end DACA also included proposed pathways to citizenship—a concession firmly rejected by Democratic lawmakers as well as immigration advocates.

In the meantime, DACA proponents have said they will stand by the Supreme Court’s decision, as well as a multitude of lower-court rulings affirming the program’s legality. In a statement, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra reiterated that the Trump administration, in attempting to end DACA, is trying to do something it has repeatedly failed to accomplish.

“The courts have spoken: DACA is in full effect, including for new applications, Becerra said in a statement. “We are ready if the Trump administration attempts to block or dismantle DACA. We know what it takes to defend DACA—we’ve done it before, and we’ll do it again if necessary.”

Leah Litman, an assistant law professor at the University of Michigan, said President Trump’s promises to end DACA—and his directive to government officials to refuse new applications—appears unlawful.

“This policy also tries to implement the ruling in a way that would allow the admin to more quickly deport DACA recipients if Trump is re-elected and rescinds DACA again, this time successfully,” Litman wrote on Twitter. “It’s up to Congress—morally and legislatively—to pass a permanent solution.”


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