President Donald Trump’s administration asked the US Supreme Court to let him end deportation protections for young undocumented immigrants, urging the justices to take the unusual step of bypassing federal appeals courts to get the case resolved by next summer.
The three connected appeals challenge federal trial court decisions that are blocking Trump from abolishing the programme, started by his predecessor, President Barack Obama.
The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals programme, known as DACA, protects hundreds of thousands of young immigrants, shielding them from deportation and letting them seek work permits.
The appeals say that the programme can be cancelled by Trump’s Department of Homeland Security without any court review.
“It is plainly within DHS’s authority to set the nation’s immigration enforcement priorities and to end the discretionary DACA policy,”
US Solicitor General Noel Francisco argued in one of the appeals.
Although the Supreme Court rarely grants requests to bypass the appeals court stage, the DACA case involves unusual circumstances.
In declining to hear an earlier Trump administration appeal in February, the Supreme Court said it expected a San Francisco-based federal appeals court to move “expeditiously.”
That court, the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals, heard arguments in May but hasn’t ruled. The administration told the appeals court last month that if it didn’t rule by October 31, the government would go directly to the Supreme Court to seek resolution during the current nine-month term.
“The Department of Justice should not have been forced to make this filing today — the Ninth Circuit should have acted expeditiously, just as the Supreme Court expected them to do — but we will not hesitate to defend the Constitutional system of checks and balances vigorously and resolutely,” Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in a statement after the appeals were filed.
The California case challenges a ruling by US District Judge William Alsup in San Francisco. In January, Alsup put the phase-out of the program on hold, saying it would be devastating to the 700,000 affected immigrants.
“This would tear authorised workers from our nation’s economy and would prejudice their being able to support themselves and their families, not to mention paying taxes to support our nation,” he wrote.
Federal judges in New York and Washington have also ruled against the Trump administration.
Under the Supreme Court’s normal schedule, the justices will say in January whether they will take up the appeals.