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Supreme Court rejects Trump administration request to fast-track DACA appeal

Federal courts in California, New York, Maryland and Washington, D.C., have ruled that the government cannot shut the Obama-era program down.
DACA Protest in Washington
Demonstrators raise their fists in protest of President Donald Trump's attempts to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program outside the Capitol on March 5, 2018.Samuel Corum / Anadolu Agency/Getty Images file

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court on Monday rejected a request from the Trump administration to speed up its consideration of the future of DACA, the federal program that has allowed 700,000 young people — known as Dreamers — to avoid deportation.

Short for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, the Obama-era initiative allows children of illegal immigrants to remain here if they were under 16 when their parents brought them to the United States and if they arrived by 2007.

The Trump administration, considering the program to be illegal, has tried for almost two years to shut it down, but lower courts have blocked that effort. The administration's appeals of those rulings have been pending since last November, but the Supreme Court has so far taken no action on them.

In late May, the Department of Justice urged the court to speed up the process and decide before its summer recess whether to take up the appeals.

"The government has been required to sanction indefinitely an ongoing violation of federal law," Solicitor General Noel Francisco wrote in urging the court to expedite its review. "And the very existence of this pending litigation continues to impede efforts to enact legislation addressing these issues."

But in a brief one-sentence order, the court denied the request Monday. As is its normal practice, it gave no reason.

Federal courts in California, New York, Maryland and Washington, D.C., have ruled that the government cannot shut down the program and must continue to accept renewal applications from DACA participants, which have to be filed every two years.

Immigrant rights groups involved in the Maryland case urged the Supreme Court not to expedite the case. "No court to consider the issue has held that DACA is unlawful. Because there is no violation of federal law, there is and can be no harm" to the government in allowing the program to continue, they said.

For the first several months of the Trump administration, the Department of Homeland Security indicated it would not disturb DACA. But it later acted in support of a lawsuit filed by Texas and seven other states, which said the program illegally gives those it covers the right to seek work permits.