The Supreme Court on Friday agreed to hear cases surrounding the Trump administration's rescinding of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
The justices will hear the cases during their next term, which starts in early October.
A pair of appeals courts have ruled against Trump officials who sought to end the Obama-era program. The administration urged the court last month to quickly decide whether it would take up a case on the program, but the justices rejected that request.
The justices had previously declined to take up the administration's challenge to a district court ruling that temporarily blocked officials from winding down the program.
But Friday's order puts the Supreme Court back at the heart of yet another controversial Trump policy move.
The justices ordered that three cases on DACA be consolidated into one case, allowing one hour for arguments.
The eventual ruling in the case could come in late June or early July 2020, just months before Election Day.
DACA and other protections for immigrants have emerged as a major theme for Democrats seeking the 2020 presidential nomination: Several candidates, including Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala HarrisStefanik in ad says Democrats want 'permanent election insurrection' Live coverage: California voters to decide Newsom's fate Florida woman faces five years in prison for threatening to kill Harris MORE (D-Calif.), said during Thursday night's debate that restoring DACA protections would be one of the first things they would do if elected president.
The Trump administration announced in 2017 that it would wind down the Obama-era program, sparking outcry from Democrats and immigration advocates. The rescission of the program included a six-month window for Congress to pass legislation offering similar protections for DACA recipients, but lawmakers were unable to get a bill to the president's desk.
The administration has argued that the initial implementation of DACA, through executive order, was unlawful as then-President Obama didn't have the authority to single-handedly impose such a program. And they argued that then-Acting Homeland Security Secretary Elaine DukeElaine Costanzo DukeBiden picks first Latino to lead Homeland Security Appeals court sides with Trump over drawdown of immigrant protections Trump mulled selling Puerto Rico, former aide says MORE had the agency power to pull back the protections.
But the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals wrote in its ruling earlier this year that ending the program violated federal administrative law, and that Duke "rescinded a general enforcement policy in existence for over five years and affecting hundreds of thousands of enrollees based on the view that the policy was unlawful.”
The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals last year also upheld a national injunction blocking the end of DACA, finding that the program's end was "arbitrary, capricious, or otherwise not in accordance with law."
However, Trump said after the ruling that he never expected the circuit court to rule in his favor.
The House earlier this year passed legislation to protect "Dreamers," or undocumented immigrants brought to the country illegally as children. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellHouse to act on debt ceiling next week White House warns GOP of serious consequences on debt ceiling Lindsey Graham: Police need 'to take a firm line' with Sept. 18 rally attendees MORE (R-Ky.) is not expected to bring the bill up for a vote.
Updated at 10:38 a.m.