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Supreme Court to hear cases on efforts to end DACA


The Supreme Court on Friday agreed to hear cases surrounding the Trump administration's rescinding of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

The justices will hear the cases during their next term, which starts in early October.

A pair of appeals courts have ruled against Trump officials who sought to end the Obama-era program. The administration urged the court last month to quickly decide whether it would take up a case on the program, but the justices rejected that request.

The justices had previously declined to take up the administration's challenge to a district court ruling that temporarily blocked officials from winding down the program.

But Friday's order puts the Supreme Court back at the heart of yet another controversial Trump policy move.

The justices ordered that three cases on DACA be consolidated into one case, allowing one hour for arguments.

The eventual ruling in the case could come in late June or early July 2020, just months before Election Day.

DACA and other protections for immigrants have emerged as a major theme for Democrats seeking the 2020 presidential nomination: Several candidates, including Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), said during Thursday night's debate that restoring DACA protections would be one of the first things they would do if elected president.

The Trump administration announced in 2017 that it would wind down the Obama-era program, sparking outcry from Democrats and immigration advocates. The rescission of the program included a six-month window for Congress to pass legislation offering similar protections for DACA recipients, but lawmakers were unable to get a bill to the president's desk.

The administration has argued that the initial implementation of DACA, through executive order, was unlawful as then-President Obama didn't have the authority to single-handedly impose such a program. And they argued that then-Acting Homeland Security Secretary Elaine Duke had the agency power to pull back the protections.

But the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals wrote in its ruling earlier this year that ending the program violated federal administrative law, and that Duke "rescinded a general enforcement policy in existence for over five years and affecting hundreds of thousands of enrollees based on the view that the policy was unlawful.”

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals last year also upheld a national injunction blocking the end of DACA, finding that the program's end was "arbitrary, capricious, or otherwise not in accordance with law."

However, Trump said after the ruling that he never expected the circuit court to rule in his favor.

"We want to be in the Supreme Court on DACA," Trump said at the time, calling the ruling "good news."

The House earlier this year passed legislation to protect "Dreamers," or undocumented immigrants brought to the country illegally as children. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is not expected to bring the bill up for a vote.

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