The Supreme Court, on Monday, February 26, declined to take up an emergency ruling on the President’s repeal of DACA that had been set to take place on Monday—today. The Administration was attempting to speed up the process and was asking the Supreme Court to take up some lower court rulings that have placed a hold on the President’s DACA-repeal. The Supreme Court rarely bypasses lower courts and jumps over the Court of Appeals and they didn’t this time. Instead, in a unanimous decision, the Court directed the California-based 9th Circuit Court of Appeals to take up the matter first.
Advocates feel that in all likelihood means that DACA remains in place until this matter could get to the US Supreme Court and that would mean no sooner than next fall. The 9th Circuit is unlikely to take up the matter for at least a few months and any decision they render would not be taken up by the Supreme Court during their summer break.
At this point the approximate 700,000 DACA covered people can reapply to extend their protections. In a September 2017 ruling, U.S. District Judge William Alsup in San Francisco ruled that the Trump Administration’s decision to eliminate DACA was based on a weak legal argument and described the action as “arbitrary” and “capricious” and at that time he ruled that the government had to resume DACA renewal applications while challenges to the September order work their way through the courts.
What it means for Congress is even less clear. It likely takes off any immediate pressure so it would appear to be unlikely that the Congress will extend protections on a short term basis by attaching anything to the March 23, final FY 2018 appropriations. There has been talk of a one or two year extension in exchange for some boarder wall funding.
Unless the Congress breaks out in a spell of bipartisan desire to help the potential 1.8 million DACA eligible people this is likely to get kicked into the fall and that would put it squarely in the election mode.