DACA Protections Remain in Place as Supreme Court Takes No Action

January 22, 2019, 5:21 PM UTC

DACA protections are remaining in place—for now.

The U.S. Supreme Court took no action Tuesday on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, leaving the protections in place for nearly 700,000 young undocumented immigrants.

The court’s inaction means that it will likely not argue the case until the start of the new term in October, potentially delaying any decision until 2020.

In recent weeks, President Donald Trump has sought to use the DACA program as leverage in negotiations with Democrats over the border wall amid the ongoing government shutdown. On Saturday, he proposed a deal that would extend protections for DACA recipients for three years in exchange for funding for his border wall. But Tuesday’s announcement marks a loss for the administration, allowing the program to remain in place.

The issue in question was not the legality of the program, but rather whether the Trump administration has the authority to end the program, which it has sought to do since late 2017. Under its original plan, DACA protections would have begun to expire in March 2018, but a number of lower courts ruled against the administration, saying that it did not provide adequate reasoning for ending the program.

DACA, an Obama-era initiative, permits children to remain in the U.S. if they arrived in the country by 2007 and were under the age of 16 at the time of their arrival. The program provides the young people with work permits and protection against deportation.