Fed­eral ap­peals court halts end of DACA

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel - - Business - Richard Wolf and Alan Gomez USA TO­DAY

WASH­ING­TON – A fed­eral ap­peals court ruled Thurs­day that Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump can­not end an Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion pro­gram that pro­tects un­doc­u­mented im­mi­grants brought to the United States as chil­dren.

A panel of the U.S. Court of Ap­peals for the 9th Cir­cuit agreed with a fed­eral district judge’s de­ci­sion in Jan­uary that Trump lacked the au­thor­ity to elim­i­nate the pro­gram – a pro­posal the pres­i­dent made last year in hopes of prod­ding Con­gress to act.

“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,” the three-mem­ber panel said.

“In a world where the gov­ern­ment can re­move only a small per­cent­age of the un­doc­u­mented nonci­t­i­zens present in this coun­try in any year,” the panel said, DACA lets it “de­vote much-needed re­sources to en­force­ment pri­or­i­ties such as threats to na­tional se­cu­rity, rather than blame­less and eco­nom­i­cally pro­duc­tive young peo­ple with clean crim­i­nal records.”

The de­ci­sion leaves in place for now the pop­u­lar De­ferred Ac­tion for Child­hood Ar­rivals pro­gram known as DACA, which has pro­tected more than 700,000 un­doc­u­mented im­mi­grants from de­por­ta­tion and en­abled them to get work per­mits.

But the Jus­tice De­part­ment is likely to ap­peal the rul­ing to the Supreme Court, which now has five re­li­ably con­ser­va­tive jus­tices. The high court in Fe­bru­ary re­fused to leapfrog the ap­peals court’s re­view of Judge Wil­liam Al­sup’s de­ci­sion.

“In Cal­i­for­nia and across our na­tion, Dream­ers sig­nif­i­cantly en­rich our com­mu­ni­ties as schol­ars, en­trepreneurs, first re­spon­ders and much more,” Cal­i­for­nia At­tor­ney Gen­eral Xavier Be­cerra said. “This fight, of course, is far from over. We will con­tinue to de­fend Dream­ers and DACA all the way to the Supreme Court if nec­es­sary.”

The opin­ion strikes down an ar­gu­ment of­ten made by the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion: that DACA was an un­con­sti­tu­tional “end run” around Con­gress, which has blocked the DREAM Act, which has been in­tro­duced since 2001 but never has passed both cham­bers.

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