The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday declined to hear a case involving the Trump administration’s repeal of the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, and on Monday rejected an appeal from the Justice Department to review a lower court decision that put an injunction on the government’s attempt to end DACA.
The ruling, which comes just a week before a March 5 deadline set by President Trump for Congress to enact legislation to replace the program established by former President Obama, means any possible Supreme Court review will have to come after the federal appeals court weighs in, instead of immediately as the administration requested.
DACA allows immigrants who entered the country illegally as children to work and go to school in the United States.
“It is assumed that the court of appeals will proceed expeditiously to decide this case,” the court said in its decision.
The Supreme Court could still agree to hear the case after it is heard by the lower appeals court.
A White House spokesman said in a statement after the court’s decision that the “clearly unlawful” DACA program benefits “illegal immigrants en masse.”
“The district judge’s decision unilaterally to re-impose a program that Congress had explicitly and repeatedly rejected is a usurpation of legislative authority,” deputy press secretary Raj Shah said.
“The fact that this occurs at a time when elected representatives in Congress are actively debating this policy only underscores that the district judge has unwisely intervened in the legislative process,” he added.
“We look forward to having this case expeditiously heard by the appeals court and, if necessary, the Supreme Court, where we fully expect to prevail.”
“While we were hopeful for a different outcome, the Supreme Court very rarely grants certiorari before judgment, though in our view it was warranted for the extraordinary injunction requiring the Department of Homeland Security to maintain DACA,” Justice Department spokesman Devin O’Malley said in a statement. “We will continue to defend DHS’ lawful authority to wind down DACA in an orderly manner.”