The Supreme Court on Monday declined to hear an expedited appeal of a case challenging President Donald Trump’s decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

Federal judges in California and New York have blocked the administration’s repeal of DACA while legal challenges to the administration’s actions play out in court. The Justice Department asked to appeal the California decision directly to the Supreme Court, but the Court’s decision Monday means the department instead will have to appeal both cases to the circuit court level first. This could push the time frame for the Supreme Court to hear the case into its next term, meaning that the DACA program could remain in place until at least the fall, unless the lower court decisions are reversed in the Ninth and Second Circuit courts of appeals.

Key points:

  • For the time being, the Department of Homeland Security will continue to process renewal requests as it did before Sept. 5, when the administration announced it would end DACA over a six-month period. DACA will likely remain in place past its original March 5 termination date, but it is impossible to predict an exact timeline.
  • It is important to note that the district court order did not allow for new registrations by individuals who have not previously received DACA relief. Additional information about the agency’s response to the court order can be found here.
  • Lawmakers’ attempts to produce a legislative fix for DACA took a hit earlier this month when the Senate failed to reach a 60-vote threshold on any of four immigration proposals, three of which would have provided a fix for DACA.

BAL Analysis: It is very unusual for the Supreme Court to hear a case from a district court without an appellate court review, so today’s decision is not surprising. The decision means the Court will not likely hear the case until its next term in the fall, and the government could continue accepting renewal applications until then. However, the courts of appeals may issue decisions before the fall. Even if the courts allow the injunctions to remain in place, the administration can still try to end DACA through rulemaking, requiring formal notice and comment. BAL continues to recommend that employers plan for the end of DACA and is available to help companies understand their obligations and restrictions regarding DACA employees.

This alert has been provided by the BAL U.S. Practice group. For additional information, please contact

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