A USA appeals court has ruled the Trump administration must continue a programme begun under former president Barack Obama that protects hundreds of thousands of young immigrants who are in the country illegally.
A three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously kept a preliminary injunction in place against Trump's decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.
The panel further concluded that the district court also properly denied the government's motion to dismiss plaintiffs' APA arbitrary-and-capricious claim, their claim that the new information-sharing policy violates their due process rights, and their claim that the DACA rescission violates their right to equal protection.
The administration has been critical of the 9th Circuit and took the unusual step of trying to sidestep it and have the California DACA cases heard directly by the U.S. Supreme Court.
In February, a federal judge in NY also blocked the administration from ending DACA.
He has taken a stern stance against illegal immigration.
"Today's ruling is yet another blow to the Trump administration's efforts to dismantle DACA, but it may also only be a temporary one", Vladeck told CNN. In their arguments to the Ninth Circuit, Attorney General Becerra's legal team emphasized the irreparable harm that DACA recipients, their communities and the states would suffer if the program were terminated. Trial was supposed to have begun in federal court in Eugene, Oregon, in late October but was delayed when the U.S. Supreme Court temporarily put the trial on hold.
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Last year, the Trump administration announced its plan to phase out the program, but federal courts have ruled that the phase-out could not apply retroactively and that the program should be restarted.
US District Judge William Alsup rejected the argument that then-President Barack Obama had exceeded his power in creating DACA and said the Trump administration failed to consider the disruption that ending the programme would cause.
Lawsuits both challenging and supporting Trump's decision to end DACA have been working their way through the courts, making it likely the issue will wind up in front of the Supreme Court.
An email to the US Department of Justice was not immediately returned. It sent a letter to the circuit last month, saying that if the decision was not handed down by October 31, it would ask the Supreme Court to take up the issue.
The high court has not responded to that request.
The 9th Circuit has handed him defeats on his travel ban targeting people from several Muslim-majority countries and his bid to withhold federal funds from so-called sanctuary cities that limit cooperation on immigration enforcement.
Aided by fellow Republicans in the U.S. Senate, Trump has made it a top priority to rapidly appoint judges in a bid to make the federal judiciary more conservative.