Chief Justice Roberts

Supreme Court Keeps DACA Alive

In a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court ruled against the Trump Administration’s decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. Chief Justice Roberts delivered the opinion.

DACA, established in 2012, allows certain unauthorized aliens who arrived in the United States as children to apply for a two-year forbearance of removal. Those granted such relief become eligible for work authorization. The program has been used by approximately 700,000 people.

In 2017, following a change in Presidential administrations, the program was terminated. Several groups challenged the decision to terminate the program as a violation of the Administrative Procedure Act. The Supreme Court decided to take up the issue. What the Supreme Court was reviewing was not whether the Department of Homeland Security had the authority to rescind DACA. All parties agreed that it may do so. What was at issue in this case was the procedure the agency followed in terminating the program.

Chief Roberts explained that DHS’s decision to rescind DACA was arbitrary and capricious.

The agency failed to consider the conspicuous issues of whether to retain forbearance and what if anything to do about the hardship to DACA recipients. That dual failure raises doubts about whether the agency appreciated the scope of its discretion or exercised that discretion in a reasonable manner. – Chief Justice Roberts