The Department of Justice will appeal directly to the Supreme Court after a federal judge in California ordered the Trump administration to maintain the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, an Obama-era amnesty policy that extends legal status to 800,000 illegal aliens who arrived in the U.S. as children.
The department will bypass the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which has jurisdiction in the case, and appeal directly to the high court, a rare procedural move.
“It defies both law and common sense for DACA — an entirely discretionary non-enforcement policy that was implemented unilaterally by the last administration after Congress rejected similar legislative proposals and courts invalidating the similar DAPA policy — to somehow be mandated nationwide by a single district court in San Francisco,” Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in a statement announcing the appeal.
Judge William Alsup concluded the program’s rescission was based on a flawed legal premise, rendering the action “arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion, [and] otherwise not in accordance with law.”
Alsup’s order does not require the administration to process new applicants for the program.
It does not appear that the administration will ask the justices to stay Alsup’s order while they consider the appeal. Obtaining a stay would be difficult, as the government would have to show the order inflicts “irreparable harm.” This leaves the government in a somewhat awkward position, arguing simultaneously that Alsup’s order was urgent enough to appeal directly to the Supreme Court, but not urgent enough to ask for immediate relief.
The appeal comes as President Donald Trump is attempting to negotiate a DACA deal with congressional Democrats to avoid a government shutdown.
The University of California system brought the suit challenging DACA’s termination. The system is led by Janet Napolitano, the former secretary of Homeland Security who presided over DACA’s original promulgation during the Obama administration.
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