DOJ to Supreme Court: Trump decision to end DACA was lawful

The Justice Department on Monday night filed a Supreme Court brief defending President TrumpDonald John TrumpJulián Castro: It's time for House Democrats to 'do something' about Trump Warren: Congress is 'complicit' with Trump 'by failing to act' Sanders to join teachers, auto workers striking in Midwest MORE's order to cancel the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
 
In a late-night filing ahead of a case scheduled for oral arguments in November, Solicitor General Noel Francisco argued the Trump administration had the legal authority to rescind DACA in 2017.
 
"At best, DACA is legally questionable; at worst, it is illegal," wrote Francisco.
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The case under review by the Supreme Court is about the legality of the president's order to end DACA, not the legality of the Obama-era program that allows hundreds of thousands of so-called Dreamers — undocumented immigrants who arrived in the country as minors — to temporarily live and work in the United States without risk of deportation.
 
The court is likely to issue its decision in the case in June or July, just months ahead of the presidential election. The final ruling could have profound implications for the 2020 race and thrust immigration back into the spotlight as a central campaign issue.

Trump in 2017 prompted litigation with his order to strip the benefits granted to Dreamers by his predecessor.
 
That order was blocked by federal judges, and the 9th Circuit affirmed those decisions on the grounds that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) enacted Trump's rescission of DACA based solely on "a belief that DACA was unlawful."
 
The 9th Circuit refused to consider a memorandum written by then-DHS Secretary Kirstjen NielsenKirstjen Michele NielsenKirstjen Nielsen drops out of Atlantic Media event after liberal backlash Pence taps former DHS spokeswoman as his new press secretary DHS officials called lawmaker visit to migrant detention facility a 'Hill stunt' MORE after the initial injunctions, calling it a "post-hoc rationalization" of the rescission that didn't affect the legality of the order itself.

Francisco panned that decision by the appeals court, arguing the Nielsen memo, and an earlier one by then-acting DHS Secretary Elaine DukeElaine Costanzo DukeDOJ to Supreme Court: Trump decision to end DACA was lawful Supreme Court to hear cases on Trump efforts to end DACA Appeals court rules Trump end of DACA was unlawful MORE, "make clear that DHS’s decision also rests on policy grounds."

"These cases concern the Executive Branch’s authority to revoke a discretionary policy of nonenforcement that is sanctioning an ongoing violation of federal immigration law by nearly 700,000 aliens," Francisco wrote in Monday's filing.

DACA proponents argue the program has been successful, protecting beneficiaries who have paid fees, passed background checks and entrusted the federal government with their biometric information.

“The DACA program has been incredibly successful, and the Supreme Court should reject these unlawful efforts to terminate this program, separate nearly 700,000 DACA recipients from their families, and deport them," said FWD.us President Todd Schulte.

Francisco also made an argument for the illegality of DACA, attacking a program that's been upheld by court review.

Immigration activists criticized Francisco's filing, which they view as a further attempt by the administration to repeal the immigration program.

“Today’s filing makes clear that the Administration continues to take every step possible to rip protections away from DACA recipients who know no other home than the United States," said Schulte. "Federal courts across the country have repeatedly made clear that the Trump Administration’s termination of DACA was unlawful."