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DACA Questions Loom as DOJ Seeks Supreme Court Review

January 18, 2018

After the Trump administration's announcement to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy in September of last year, a group of Democratic states attorneys general, civil rights advocacy organizations, and the University of California, among others, filed suit to halt DACA's termination.

In early January, U.S. District Judge William Alsup issued a temporary injunction ordering a halt to the expiration of DACA recipients' status while the lawsuit is ongoing. His ruling requires the government, through the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), to resume renewing DACA status and work authorization for all who held status when the program's elimination was announced. The ruling does not require DHS to consider any new DACA applications for individuals who did not already have DACA status. DHS confirmed they currently intend to comply with the court's order.

However, in response to Alsup's ruling, the Department of Justice (DOJ) has announced it will take the unusual step of not only appealing the injunction, but will also simultaneously ask the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn the ruling. Attorney General Jeff Sessions stated, "We are now taking the rare step of requesting direct review on the merits of this injunction by the Supreme Court so that this issue may be resolved quickly and fairly for all the parties involved." While it would be extremely unusual for the Supreme Court to rule on the merits of a lower court ruling before the lower court appeals process is completed, the court will occasionally do so if it determines a case to be sufficiently important and time sensitive.

As this litigation over DACA moves forward, the question remains as to whether or not Congress will include a legislative fix to preserve DACA in a final FY18 budget. Disagreements over defense and non-defense discretionary spending caps and a fight over inflammatory comments President Trump may have made complicated the budgetary process in recent weeks and another continuing resolution may be necessary before a final budget is produced.

Contact

Megan Schneider
Assistant Director, Federal Affairs
202.861.2547
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