Federal appeals court halts Trump administration attempt to end DACA

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Photo Credit: Nikita Sveshnikov | Daily Texan Staff

The Trump administration is not allowed to end Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, the federal 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Thursday afternoon.

DACA, which shields undocumented immigrants who were brought into the United States as children from deportation, has been a frequent target of criticism by President Donald Trump. The Trump administration announced its intention to rescind the program last September. The program was created by an executive order issued by former President Barack Obama.

Trump’s attempt to rescind the program was also initially blocked by judges from lower courts in Washington D.C. and New York. A Texas judge declined to halt the program but acknowledged DACA would likely be declared illegal eventually.

After the lower courts blocked the Trump administration’s initial efforts to end the program, the administration requested that the Supreme Court weigh in. Now that an appeals court has made a decision, UT law professor Stephen Vladeck told CNN the Supreme Court will likely have the final say in Trump’s ability to terminate DACA.

“Today’s ruling is yet another blow to the Trump administration’s efforts to dismantle DACA, but it may also only be a temporary one,” Vladeck told CNN. “It seems much more likely that the justices will agree to the government’s already-pending request that they settle the matter, perhaps as soon by the end of the current term in June.”

Daniela Rojas, a DACA recipient and the youth organizer for Jolt Texas, a Latinx empowerment organization, said the court’s decision was good news, but she wants a permanent solution.  

“It’s definitely a great step forward,” said Rojas, a latin american studies senior. “Although I’m very happy that this is still in place, I think that it’s also just temporary and I’d like to see a more permanent solution to this issue. A lot of (DACA recipients) have a lot of uncertainty right now.”

Negotiations to settle government policy concerning DACA recipients have failed to produce new legislation in Congress since Trump took office. More than once, the government has shut down because of a conflict over immigration reform.

Over the summer, Republican lawmakers put forward a deal to grant DACA recipients a pathway to citizenship in exchange for increased funding for border security and potentially a border wall. Like other attempts at reform, the legislation was not put up for a vote.

The Trump administration has not yet commented on the latest ruling.