An effort by the Trump administration to speed up the legal fight over protections for young illegal immigrants brought to the country as children was blocked by the Supreme Court on Monday.
The Supreme Court denied the Justice Department’s request to review a federal judge’s ruling blocking President Donald Trump from rescinding the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.
The decision allows the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to rule on the case, with the Supreme Court saying it expects the appeals court to “proceed expeditiously.”
Last month, U.S. District Court judge William Alsup ruled that the administration’s decision to shut down the DACA program was “arbitrary” and “capricious.”
The ruling required the administration to resume accepting renewal applications for the DACA program, although it did not extend to new applications.
Trump had previously set a March 5th deadline to end the program in an effort to spur lawmakers to take action on the issue.
However, several different immigrant reform proposals failed to clear a procedural hurdle in the Senate earlier this month.
Justice Department spokesman Devin O’Malley said the administration hoped for a different outcome but acknowledged the Supreme Court rarely grants requests to bypass the lower courts.
“We will continue to defend DHS’s lawful authority to wind down DACA in an orderly manner,” O’Malley said in a statement.
White House Deputy Press Secretary Raj Shah argued that the DACA program is “clearly unlawful” and accused Alsup of usurping legislative authority.
“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,” Shah said.
Meanwhile, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, who led one of the lawsuits challenging the termination of DACA, called the administration’s attempt to bypass the appeals court “unusual and unnecessary.”
“We look forward to explaining to the Ninth Circuit court that DACA is fully legal,” Becerra said. “For the sake of the Dreamers who help make our economy and our state strong, the rescission of DACA should not be allowed to stand.”