NAICU Washington Update

Court Rulings will Likely Push DACA to Supreme Court

September 11, 2018

Differing rulings from two federal courts are sending mixed signals on the solvency of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, and show the need for either congressional intervention or a ruling by the United States Supreme Court.  The recent rulings, coming less than a month apart, support both fully restarting the DACA program, and questioning whether the program is ultimately even legal.

U.S. District Judge John Bates, based in Washington, D.C., ordered the Trump Administration to fully restart the DACA program on August 3.  He is the third federal judge to order the Administration to restart the program. 

On August 28, Texas-based U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen unexpectedly declined to issue a preliminary injunction halting DACA, ruling against Texas and several other states.  Hanen, however, indicated the program is likely illegal and allowed an immediate 21-day appeal of his ruling.  Hanen felt the states waited too long to file the case and that given the differing court rulings on DACA, “the primary issues in question are poised for resolution by the Supreme Court.”

The Texas decision could well push the Supreme Court to ultimately decide the fate of the DACA program.  How quickly the Court would consider this is unclear.  Also, depending on the Supreme Court’s action, there will likely be pressure for Congress to consider additional legislative solutions.

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