Another Court Has Ruled Against Trump’s Attempt to End Protections for Dreamers

The appeals court found that the administration acted in an “arbitrary and capricious” manner.

Ting Shen/ZUMA

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A second federal appeals court has ruled against the Trump administration’s attempt to revoke protections against deportation for undocumented immigrants who came to the United States as children, who are known as Dreamers.

The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on Friday that the Trump administration had ended the program in an “arbitrary and capricious” manner. The Ninth Circuit came to a similar conclusion in November.

From a legal perspective, Friday’s decision is not particularly significant since previous court decisions already blocked the administration from ending protections for roughly 700,000 Dreamers. But it is yet another sign of how Trump’s rush to punish undocumented immigrants led him to run afoul of the law and undermine his own enforcement agenda.

In 2017, then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that the Trump administration was cancelling Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, the Obama-era program that protected Dreamers. Courts quickly ruled that the administration did not have the authority abruptly end DACA, and forced the government to continue to let Dreamers to renew their temporary work permits under the program.

The DACA case is expected to be taken up by the Supreme Court, likely in the new term that begins in October. For Dreamers, that could make the outcome of the 2020 presidential election particularly important. DACA-recipients can currently renew two-year permits, meaning that they can receive protection beyond Trump’s first term. A Democratic president would almost certainly undo Trump’s decision to end the program.

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In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

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