9th Circuit Upholds Lower Courts’ Injunction Against DACA Rollback

On November 8, 2018, the Ninth Circuit ruled on one of the country’s most contentious  issues, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). In its decision in The Regents of the University of California, et. al. v. United States Department of Homeland Security, et.al.,  the court upheld a lower court’s preliminary injunction against a rollback of DACA.

Judge Wardlaw, who wrote the opinion of the court, stated that the plaintiffs in the case were likely to succeed on their claim that the rescission of DACA was “arbitrary and capricious” and based on a “misconceived view of the law.” Calling the power of the executive branch to enforce the nation’s immigration laws “awesome,” the Night Circuit allowed “the hundreds of thousands of . . . young dreamers . . . [to] continue to live productively in the only country they have ever known. . .” As a result, nearly 700,000 young immigrants brought to the country as minors may remain in the United States temporarily.

Further, in its decision, the court said that “DACA is national immigration policy, and an injunction that applies that policy to some individuals while rescinding it as to others is inimical to the principle of uniformity.” This  reasoning provides the justification of the nationwide scope of the injunction.

DACA was introduced by the Obama’s administration in June of 2012. Under DACA, young immigrants who were brought to this country illegally as minors are allowed to receive work permits provided that they have clean criminal records, have been enrolled in school, graduated from high school, obtained GED, or been honorably discharged from the U.S. military or Coast Guard, and meet certain other requirements. The former Secretary of Department of Homeland Security, described DACA recipients as “productive young people” who “have contributed to our country in significant ways.” On September 5, 2017, the Department of Homeland Security initiated the orderly phase out of the program under President Trump’s direction. The government lawyers, as well as the Trump administration, claim that President Obama overused his executive powers when he introduced DACA.

On November 5, 2018, even before the decision of the Ninth Circuit was issued, in their attempt to stop DACA legal issues making their way through the courts, the current President’s administration intervened and petitioned the Supreme Court for a writ of certiorari to fast track cases supporting the President’s decision to end DACA. It is difficult to predict how the Supreme Court will act given its composition now including two Justices appointed by President Trump.