SCOTUS will hear Alabama-backed bid to end Obama’s DACA program
The U.S. Supreme Court on Friday decided to hear an Alabama-backed bid by the Trump administration to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which started during President Barack Obama’s tenure in office.
DACA protects undocumented individuals who were brought to the United States illegally as children. Applicants are shielded from deportation and allowed to apply for work permits. The program was formed by an Obama executive branch memorandum in 2012.
After taking office, the Trump administration moved to rescind DACA in September 2017 in the face of a threatened legal challenge by Republican-led states, including Alabama.
In a one-page letter, then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions urged Elaine Duke, then-acting Homeland Security secretary, to end the program because it was an “unconstitutional exercise of authority by the executive branch.” Duke said the next day that she was rescinding DACA.
Under the Trump administration’s action, DACA recipients were scheduled to lose their protected status beginning in March 2018. However, lower federal courts quickly intervened, saying the argument that DACA is illegal is an inadequate legal reason to rescind the program.
The San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in November to side with these lower courts in protecting DACA, claiming that the Department of Homeland Security “acted based on an erroneous view of what the law required.”
U.S. Solicitor General Noel Francisco, arguing as the Trump administration’s top Supreme Court lawyer, has advised in court filings that “the rescission [of DACA] is reasonable in light of DHS’s serious doubts about the legality of the DACA policy.”
In a statement to Yellowhammer News on Friday after the Supreme Court granted cert, or decided to hear the case, Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall reaffirmed his stance that DACA was created unconstitutionally by the Obama administration and that the Trump administration was right to rescind the program.
“I welcome the Supreme Court’s decision to hear the case of whether the Trump administration has the right to cancel the Obama executive order creating the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program,” he said.
“I was one of seven attorneys general who filed a lawsuit just over a year ago calling for the halt of the unlawful DACA program and filed a motion for a preliminary injunction against it after activist judges in at least three federal courts issued rulings blocking the dismantling of DACA,” Marshall outlined. “Since the Obama administration’s unilateral creation of DACA seven years ago, nearly one million illegal aliens been granted legal presence and work eligibility in the United States.”
The Republican attorney general concluded, “The U.S. Constitution makes clear that Congress alone has the legal authority to write U.S. immigration law, not the president through an executive branch memo. I am hopeful that the Court will rule in support of the Constitution and allow the president to finally terminate DACA.”
The Supreme Court will hear arguments and rule on the DACA case during the upcoming term that runs from October 2019 through June 2020.
Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn