The US Supreme Court said Friday that it will consider in its next term President Donald Trump ‘s decision to shut down the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which protects roughly 700,000 undocumented young people from deportation.
The court’s next term begins in October, making it likely that the nine justices will hand down their ruling in the heat of the 2020 presidential campaign, when Trump will be running for re-election.
Then-President Barack Obama launched DACA in 2012 following the failure of Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform.
In September 2017, Trump announced that he would end DACA in six months, urging lawmakers to use that time to come up with legislation to address the situation of the young immigrants known as “Dreamers.”
By the time DACA was supposed to end in March 2018, several federal district courts had issued injunctions requiring US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to continue accepting renewal applications from migrant youths.
The 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the lower court rulings and the Trump administration appealed to the Supreme Court.
To be eligible for DACA protections, an applicant must have been brought into the United States unlawfully before the age of 16 and meet a series of other requirements, including passing criminal background checks.
USCIS figures show that Mexican-born migrants make up the vast majority of DACA beneficiaries.
A person accepted into the program is entitled to a work permit and - in many states - can obtain a driver’s license.
The DACA protection must be renewed every two years.
Efforts to help undocumented young people began in 2000, with the first introduction in Congress of the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act.
Yet despite support over the years from prominent Republicans . including President George W. Bush, the measure has failed to win approval in both houses of Congress.
Earlier this month, Democrats in the House of Representatives used their majority status to pass a bill that contemplates a path to citizenship for more than 2.5 million immigrants who entered the country without authorization or with only temporary status.
The House voted 237-187 in favor of the DREAM and Promise Act of 2019, as seven Republicans joined the Democrats in supporting the measure.
But prospects for the legislation in the Republican-controlled Senate are dim and Trump, who made opposition to immigration a centerpiece of his 2016 campaign, would almost certainly veto anything resembling the House bill if it reached his desk. EFE