Ap­peals court rules against Trump on DACA im­mi­grant pol­icy

Imperial Valley Press - - FRONT PAGE - BY SUDHIN THANAWALA

SAN FRAN­CISCO — A U.S. ap­peals court blocked Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump on Thurs­day from im­me­di­ately end­ing an Obama-era pro­gram shield­ing young im­mi­grants from de­por­ta­tion, say­ing the ad­min­is­tra­tion’s de­ci­sion was based on a flawed le­gal the­ory.

A three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Cir­cuit Court of Ap­peals unan­i­mously kept a pre­lim­i­nary in­junc­tion in place against Trump’s de­ci­sion to end the De­ferred Ac­tion for Child­hood Ar­rivals pro­gram.

Law­suits by Cal­i­for­nia and oth­ers chal­leng­ing the ad­min­is­tra­tion’s de­ci­sion will con­tinue in fed­eral court while the in­junc­tion stands.

The U.S. Supreme Court could even­tu­ally de­cide the fate of DACA, which has pro­tected about 700,000 peo­ple who were brought to the U.S. il­le­gally as chil­dren or came with fam­i­lies that over­stayed visas. Ear­lier this week, the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion took the un­usual step of ask­ing the Supreme Court to take up the case even be­fore any fed­eral ap­peals courts had weighed in. It was the sec­ond time the ad­min­is­tra­tion sought re­view of its DACA de­ci­sion by the Supreme Court.

In Thurs­day’s rul­ing, 9th Cir­cuit Judge Kim Ward­law said Cal­i­for­nia and other plain­tiffs were likely to suc­ceed with their claim that the de­ci­sion to end DACA was ar­bi­trary and capri­cious.

The Depart­ment of Home­land Se­cu­rity moved to end the pro­gram last year on the ad­vice of just­fired At­tor­ney Gen­eral Jeff Ses­sions, who de­ter­mined DACA to be un­law­ful be­cause, he said, Pres­i­dent Barack Obama did not have the au­thor­ity to adopt it in the first place.

That was in­cor­rect, Ward­law wrote, not­ing that the fed­eral gov­ern­ment has a long and wellestab­lished his­tory of us­ing its dis­cre­tion not to en­force im­mi­gra­tion law against cer­tain cat­e­gories of peo­ple. Ex­am­ples in­clude Pres­i­dent Dwight D. Eisen­hower’s de­ci­sion in 1956 to ex­tend “im­mi­gra­tion pa­role” to 30,000 Hun­gar­ian refugees oth­er­wise un­able to re­main in the U.S. and Pres­i­dent Ron­ald Rea­gan’s “Fam­ily Fair­ness” pro­gram, which al­lowed cer­tain rel­a­tives of il­le­gal im­mi­grants who had been granted amnesty to like­wise re­main in the coun­try.

While the fed­eral gov­ern­ment might be able to end DACA for pol­icy rea­sons un­der its own dis­cre­tion, it can’t do so based on Ses­sions’ faulty be­lief that the pro­gram ex­ceeds fed­eral au­thor­ity, the court held.

“We hold only that here, where the Ex­ec­u­tive did not make a dis­cre­tionary choice to end DACA — but rather acted based on an er­ro­neous view of what the law re­quired — the rescis­sion was ar­bi­trary and capri­cious,” Ward­law wrote. “The gov­ern­ment is, as al­ways, free to re­ex­am­ine its pol­icy choices, so long as do­ing so does not vi­o­late an in­junc­tion or any free­stand­ing statu­tory or con­sti­tu­tional pro­tec­tion.”

That said, the judges also de­clined to dis­miss claims that the gov­ern­ment’s ac­tion might vi­o­late the con­sti­tu­tional rights of DACA re­cip­i­ents. The dis­pro­por­tion­ate ef­fect the de­ci­sion would have on Lati­nos might be un­con­sti­tu­tion­ally dis­crim­i­na­tory, the court said, and the plain­tiffs had also made a cred­i­ble claim that it would vi­o­late due process for the gov­ern­ment to turn around and use in­for­ma­tion they pro­vided when they en­rolled in DACA in de­por­ta­tion pro­ceed­ings. The Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion has said it moved to end the pro­gram last year be­cause Texas and other states threat­ened to sue, rais­ing the prospect of a chaotic end to DACA. The ad­min­is­tra­tion cited a 2015 rul­ing by an­other U.S. ap­peals court that blocked a sep­a­rate im­mi­gra­tion pol­icy im­ple­mented by Obama.

The 9th Cir­cuit dis­agreed with the New Or­leans­based 5th U.S. Cir­cuit Court of Ap­peals and said one of its con­clu­sions did not ap­ply to DACA.

An email to the U.S. Depart­ment of Jus­tice was not im­me­di­ately re­turned.

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 pro­gram in Jan­uary.

U.S. District Judge William Al­sup re­jected the ar­gu­ment that Obama had ex­ceeded his power in cre­at­ing DACA and said the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion failed to con­sider the dis­rup­tion that end­ing the pro­gram would cause.

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