A US appeals court in California ruled on Thursday that President Donald Trump's administration must continue a program begun under former President Barack Obama that protects hundreds of thousands of immigrants who were brought into the country illegally as children.
The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, based in San Francisco, has been a thorn in Trump's side since he took office past year and has drawn the Republican president's ire for its decisions in high-profile cases.
"We conclude that plaintiffs are likely to succeed on their claim that the rescission of DACA - at least as justified on this record - is arbitrary, capricious, or otherwise not in accordance with law", reads the opinion from Judge Kim McLane Wardlaw, an appointee of President Bill Clinton. Then, on November 2, the Supreme Court declined to stop the lawsuit but told the Trump administration that the government can still petition a lower court to dismiss the case as the government had asked the high court to do. The Supreme Court rejected that request.
A liberal-leaning California-based federal appeals court that has often ruled against President Donald Trump dealt him another setback this week in a major immigration case and soon could be asked to weigh in on a pipeline project he has championed.
DACA, implemented by the Obama administration, allows some undocumented immigrants who entered the country prior to their sixteenth birthday and before June 2007 to get exemption from deportation and a renewable two-year work permit. The Trump administration is seeking to convince the Supreme Court to consolidate those cases because they make the same substantive objections to the planned DACA rollback, and toss them all out on the merits. In two cases, preliminary injunctions by US district judges in Brooklyn, N.Y., and Washington, D.C., are being appealed by the government to the 2nd and 4th Circuit Courts of Appeal.
Trump's decision to end DACA prompted lawsuits across the nation, including one by California. A judge overseeing that lawsuit and four others ruled against the administration and reinstated the programme in January.
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San Francisco-based US District Judge William Alsup decided in January the government must continue processing renewals of existing DACA applications while litigation over the legality of Mr Trump's action is resolved.
Spokespersons were not immediately available to comment on whether the Justice Department will now keep that petition in place or replace it with a normal appeal of the 9th Circuit decision.
The administration then asked the 9th Circuit to throw out Judge Alsup's ruling.
During a hearing in May, Deputy Assistant Attorney General Hashim Mooppan argued that the courts could not review the administration's decision to end DACA.
Aided by fellow Republicans in the U.S. Senate, Trump has made it a top priority to rapidly appoint judges in a bid to make the federal judiciary more conservative.