Trump’s bid to end Obama-era immigration policy blocked by court

Supreme court rules US president cannot abolish the ‘Dreamers’ programme

The US supreme court ruled that the president cannot abolish the DACA programme which protects immigrants who came to the United States as children. Photograph: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

The US supreme court ruled that the president cannot abolish the DACA programme which protects immigrants who came to the United States as children. Photograph: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

 

US president Donald Trump’s immigration policy has received a major setback, as the country’s supreme court ruled that the president cannot abolish the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) programme which protects immigrants who came to the United States as children.  

In an opinion issued on Thursday, the nine-member court struck down Mr Trump’s plan to end the policy on a procedural matter, stating that the department of homeland security had failed to provide a “reasoned explanation for its action”, as legally required. Instead, the administration’s attempt to end the programme was “arbitrary and capricious”, the court ruled.

DACA was introduced by president Barack Obama in 2012, and granted legal protection to young people who were brought to the United States illegally as children, a category often referred to as “dreamers”.

Political backlash

Mr Trump threatened to end the programme during his campaign for the presidency in 2016.

Following his election, he announced he was ending DACA in 2017, prompting a political backlash, even from some Republicans. The move was challenged in court culminating in Thursday’s supreme court decision.

About 700,000 people are covered by the DACA programme which allows them to live and work legally in the US, though their status must be renewed every two years.

Chief justice John Roberts, who sided with the four liberal justices on the court, noted in his written opinion that the court had not decided whether DACA or its recission “are sound policies”.

“We address only whether the agency complied with the procedural requirement that it provide a reasoned explanation for its action.”

Mr Trump reacted furiously to the decision. “These horrible & politically charged decisions coming out of the Supreme Court are shotgun blasts into the face of people that are proud to call themselves Republicans or Conservatives,” he wrote on Twitter. He also linked the issue to November’s election.

“We need more Justices or we will lose our 2nd Amendment & everything else,” he said, referring to Americans’ constitutional right to bear arms. “Vote Trump 2020!”

He wrote in another tweet: “Do you get the impression that the Supreme Court doesn’t like me?”

Discriminated

Thursday’s decision is the second time this week that the highest court in the US has issued a ruling welcomed by liberals.

On Monday, the court ruled that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people cannot be discriminated against in the workplace. Neil Gorsuch, the conservative justice appointed by Mr Trump in the first year of his presidency, wrote the legal opinion in the landmark judgment which rules that LGBTQ workers are protected by the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

The court also this week said it would not be taking up several cases being brought by gun rights activists eager to strengthen second-amendment protections.

Mr Obama, who introduced the flagship DACA programme eight years ago, welcomed the court’s decision on the Dreamers Act.

“Eight years ago this week, we protected young people who were raised as part of our American family from deportation. Today, I’m happy for them, their families, and all of us. We may look different and come from everywhere, but what makes us American are our shared ideals,” he tweeted.