The Supreme Court preserved former President Barack Obama’s DACA amnesty in a ruling released Thursday morning, saying that the Trump administration had not properly considered the impact on illegal immigrants before rescinding the executive action.
“Here the agency failed to consider the conspicuous issues of whether to retain forbearance and what if anything to do about the hardship to DACA recipients,” said the 5-4 opinion, which was written by Chief Justice John Roberts in cooperation with the four Democrat-nominated judges on the panel:
That dual failure raises doubts about whether the agency appreciated the scope of its discretion or exercised that discretion in a reasonable manner. The appropriate recourse is therefore to remand to DHS so that it may consider the problem anew.
“We do not decide whether DACA or its rescission are sound policies. ‘The wisdom’ of those decisions ‘is none of our concern,'” the court said.
The court suggested it would allow the agency to cancel the partial amnesty for roughly 700,000 illegal immigrants if the agency went through the regulatory hoops that were ignored when Obama’s deputies created the program.
Amnesty advocates cheered the result, and call for more illegals to apply for work permits from the Department of Homeland Security.
Best possible result on #DACA Let’s start filing new cases!!!
— Charles Kuck (@ckuck) June 18, 2020
Justice Clarence Thomas, joined by two other judges, dissented, arguing that the Obama administration did not have “statutory authorization” to take the initial action:
Today the majority makes the mystifying determination that this rescission of DACA was unlawful. In reaching that conclusion, the majority acts as though it is engaging in the routine application of standard principles of administrative law. On the contrary, this is anything but a standard administrative law case.
DHS created DACA during the Obama administration without any statutory authorization and without going through the requisite rulemaking process. As a result, the program was unlawful from its inception. The majority does not even attempt to explain why a court has the authority to scrutinize an agency’s policy reasons for rescinding an unlawful program under the arbitrary and capricious microscope. The decision to countermand an unlawful agency action is clearly reasonable. So long as the agency’s determination of illegality is sound, our review should be at an end.