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DACA survives thanks to Supreme Court

If you are a DREAMer in California, the recent spate of nationwide deportations probably has put you in a state of near panic. You may be constantly looking over your shoulder wondering if and when ICE officials will swoop down on you. Take a deep breath. If you are a DACA enrollee, the Supreme Court may have just given you a reprieve.

As you probably know, DACA, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, was recently set to expire. Congress could not agree on if or how to extend it. The debate became so acrimonious that the government actually shut down for three days in January.

California files suit

With time running out for DACA, the State of California, several California cities and the University of California sued the Department of Justice in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, asking that the judge order the Trump administration to extend the program. The judge did so, and the DOJ appealed directly to the U.S. Supreme Court. On Feb. 26, however, the High Court refused to hear the case.

The Supreme Court weighs in

In this decision, SCOTUS did not specifically address the appellate court judge's ruling; rather, it said that this case should proceed through regular judicial channels. This means that the appellate court judge's order stands, DACA survives, and the case goes back to the Ninth Circuit. The DOJ will likely file another appeal, but by the time it works its way through regular judicial channels, it will likely not reach the Supreme Court again until after the Court's new term begins in October. Consequently, DACA might be safe for at least another eight months. In the meantime, a similar New York case is in the Second Circuit Court of Appeals. That court, too, ruled against the Trump administration's plans to end DACA.

All of this may be welcome news for you and other DACA enrollees. You may be able to put away your fears for at least a few months. Nevertheless, you may wish to consult with an experienced immigration attorney to make sure your status is up-to-date, that all your paperwork is complete and that you have a full understanding of your situation and available options.

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