By Rhina Guidos
Catholic News Service
WASHINGTON (CNS) — The U.S. Supreme Court has dealt a blow to the Trump administration’s effort to end a program in March that protects young adults brought to the U.S. without legal permission as minors.
On Feb. 26, the court declined to hear and rule on whether the administration has the right to shut down the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA program.
In September, President Donald Trump announced his administration was ending the program, giving lawmakers until March 5 to find a legislative solution to protect the young adults benefiting from DACA.
Two federal judges have blocked the Trump administration’s efforts to end the program, ruling the government must continue to accept renewal applications for DACA. In turn, the administration asked the Supreme Court to hear and rule on one of those decisions, from a judge in California, in an effort to bypass the process of an appeal going through the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals based in San Francisco.
That means the March 5 deadline essentially no longer of any significance and those benefiting from DACA can keep applying to renew permits that protect them from deportation and allow them to have a work permit and other documents, as long as they meet certain criteria.
In a brief unsigned comment, the court said it expected the Court of Appeals "will proceed expeditiously to decide this case."
"Although the Supreme Court decision buys Congress time to address the situation of undocumented youth, it should not give them an excuse to delay action," said Kevin Appleby, senior director of international migration policy for the Center for Migration Studies in New York. "These young people remain at risk and deserve permanent protection and a chance to plan their futures. Catholic advocates should continue to push Congress and the president to grant them a path to citizenship."