US court again rules against Trump on DACA

Nellie Chapman
November 11, 2018

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.

A three-judge panel of the US 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, based in San Francisco, ruled unanimously in favor of a lower court's preliminary injunction against the administration's attempt to phase out Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.

The three-judge panel unanimously upheld a federal judge's January injunction maintaining the program, rejecting the administration's claim that the decision to end DACA was not reviewable by the courts.

DACA is an executive action issued by former President Barack Obama in 2012 to help undocumented individuals who arrived to the country as children to obtain work permits, college degrees and driver's licenses.

Last year President Trump announced his intention to end DACA to avoid a lawsuit by Texas and other states.

The federal government, under both the Obama and Trump administrations, has tried repeatedly to get the case dismissed.

The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit blocked the Department of Homeland Security's decision to terminate DACA benefits and discontinue applications.

Lawyers for the Trump administration have already asked the Supreme Court to review the issue.

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"And, upon review, 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", Judge Kim McLane Wardlaw wrote. It also is set to rule on the administration's appeal of a judge's order blocking Trump's move to put restrictions on transgender people serving in the US military.

California, the most populous US state, is a liberal bastion that is unfriendly political territory for Trump.

The administration's belief that DACA exceeded Obama's authority and was illegal was therefore "incorrect", the court said. "That is a perfectly rational thing to do".

Mooppan said the administration was under no obligation to consider the fact that people had come to rely on DACA.

On Monday, the United States Department of Justice and the US solicitor general filed a petition asking the Supreme Court to decide the issue before the ninth circuit court made its decision.

The 9th Circuit disagreed with the New Orleans-based 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and said one of its conclusions did not apply to DACA. The high court in February declined to do so.

DACA proponents have also argued that Trump's planned termination of the program violates federal law requiring adequate notice-and-comment periods before certain federal rules are changed, as well as other constitutional equal protection and due process guarantees.

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.

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