WASHINGTON — In a landmark ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday said the Trump administration for now can't rescind the DACA program, which protects hundreds of thousands of immigrants from possible deportation.
What You Need To Know
- Supreme Court says Trump administration can't rescind DACA this time
- Ruling protects 700,000 immigrants from possibility of deportation
- SCOTUS had issue with the way DHS went about trying to rescind DACA
- READ IT: ▼ Jump to full U.S. Supreme Court ruling (PDF) ▼
The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals is an Obama-era program that allows children who were brought to the U.S. illegally to stay in the country legally, attend college, work, and get a driver's license.
There are almost 700,000 immigrants in the program.
The Supreme Court ruled 5-4, with Chief Justice John Roberts siding with liberal judges.
In writing the majority opinion, Roberts said the way the Trump administration went about trying to rescind the program was "arbitrary and capricious."
"The dispute before the Court is not whether the DHS may rescind DACA. All parties agree that it may," Roberts said. "The dispute is instead primarily about the procedure the agency followed in doing so."
The ruling also remanded the issue back to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, which could try again to rescind DACA.
The Supreme Court majority's decision stems from the initial action to rescind DACA in 2017.
Acting Homeland Security Secretary Elaine Duke put out a memo that simply said DHS should rescind DACA because it was unconstitutional.
Nine months later, then-DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen submitted another memo with a fuller explanation of why her department thinks the program should be rescinded.
However, the Court's majority opinion says judicial review of agency action is limited to “the grounds that the agency invoked when it took the action."
Nielsen's fuller explanation for the rescission was not part of that original memo from Duke.
The justices for the minority opinion, which included conservative Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, Brett Kavanaugh, and Neil Gorsuch, said requiring a new decision before considering Nielsen’s new justifications would be “an idle and useless formality.”
Thomas, who wrote the dissent, called the ruling "an effort to avoid a politically controversial but legally correct decision."
Kavanaugh — most recently appointed by President Donald Trump — wrote his own dissent, saying he thought the administration acted appropriately in trying to end the program.
Trump blasted the ruling on Twitter, calling the "politically charged" decisions regarding DACA and the recent decision on job discrimination against the LGBTQ community "shotgun blasts into the face of people that are proud to call themselves Republicans or Conservatives."
He sent a second tweet a couple of minutes later.
In their decision, justices noted that excluding DACA recipients from the workforce would result in about a $215 billion economic loss and a $60 billion impact in federal taxes.