*Practice limited to federal immigration law. Licensed in NY, MA, but not in CA.

Ninth Circuit Court Rules Against Trump Administration on DACA

On November 8th, 2018 the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled against the Trump Administration on DACA. In the case of Regents of the University of California v. DHS (“DACA II”), Judge Kim McLane Wardlaw wrote that the rescission of the DACA program by the Trump Administration is unlawful due to its arbitrary and capricious nature.

The Trump Administration’s efforts to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program has already been blocked by three lower courts. However, this decision is notable because it is the first time that an appellate court has ruled against the administration. This sets the table for the case to head to the Supreme Court as early as the Spring of 2019.

DACA Can Still Be Renewed — For Now

DACA’s Path to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals

Three federal courts in three different circuits have already ruled against the Trump Administration on DACA. In January, a California federal judge ruled that the Trump Administration had to continue the program. This is the case that eventually made its way to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

As these rulings are in place, the government must still accept and process DACA renewals. As of November 2018, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is legally required to accept requests for DACA renewals, but the agency is no longer accepting first-time DACA applications.  

The Trump Administration Made an Arbitrary and Capricious Decision

In line with several other federal courts that have reviewed this case, the Ninth Circuit determined that the Trump Administration’s move to end DACA was unlawful because it was arbitrary and capricious. The administration failed to articulate a valid reason to abruptly end the program, thereby taking away rights from hundreds of thousands of people.

A Conservative-Leaning Supreme Court Appears Likely to Weigh In  

The Trump Administration has already asked the Supreme Court to hear this case. In fact, the administration wanted the Supreme Court to weigh in last year — before the issue was reviewed at the appellate level. This was an unusual request by the administration (known as certiorari before judgment) and the Supreme Court declined to hear the case. Instead, it allowed DACA to work its way through the ordinary judicial review process.

However, now that the Ninth Circuit has ruled against the Trump Administration on DACA, most legal observers agree that the nation’s highest court will likely agree to hear the case. If the Supreme Court does agree to hear the case, then DACA’s future may be in the hands of the court’s five-member conservative majority. Of course, there is also still time for Congress to take action and provide dreamers with the legal protections that they deserve.

Get Help From a Los Angeles DACA Lawyer

At Goldstein Immigration Lawyers, we strongly support the preservation of DACA and the expansion of rights for immigrants. Our law firm is committed to providing the best legal representation to our clients. To arrange a fully confidential, no obligation review of your immigration case, please call our Los Angeles law office at (213) 262-2000 or contact us through our website.

Josh Goldstein
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