The 5-4 decision is considered a major defeat for president Donald Trump on the issue of immigration, having threatened to disband the DACA programme and send the dreamers ‘home’.
Chief Justice John Roberts who wrote the majority decision said the government failed to give an adequate justification for ending the federal program. The administration could again try to shut it down by offering a more detailed explanation for its action, but the White House might not want to end such a popular program in the heat of a presidential campaign.
"We conclude that the acting secretary did violate" the Administrative Procedure Act, and that the decision to rescind DACA "must be vacated," Roberts wrote. In his decision, Roberts called the Trump administration's "total rescission" of DACA "arbitrary and capricious."
The heart of Robert’s majority opinion held that Trump had broken the laws governing federal agencies when he ended DACA in 2017because the memorandum that recommended its termination did not address crucial parts of the policy.
In addition, every justice in the majority except Sotomayor dismissed the argument made by the parties that brought the case to the Supreme Court that the administration’s decision to terminate DACA was motivated by discrimination against Latinos.
Roberts, however pointed out in his decision that it wasn't necessarily unconstitutional for the Trump administration to terminate DACA, but the way it did so was.
The conservative Justice Clarence Thomas , in his dissent, wrote, "Today’s decision must be recognized for what it is: an effort to avoid a politically controversial but legally correct decision." He added that the court "could have made clear" that a solution to the question over the status of the program must come from Congress through immigration legislation.
"Instead, the majority has decided to prolong DHS’ initial overreach by providing a stopgap measure of its own," he wrote. "In doing so, it has given the greenlight for future political battles to be fought in this Court rather than where they rightfully belong — the political branches."
Conservative Justice Samuel Alito in his dissent said "The Court still does not resolve the question of DACA’s rescission," Alito wrote in his dissent. "Instead, it tells the Department of Homeland Security to go back and try again."
After the decision Joe Biden called the ruling a victory that was “made possible by the courage and resilience of hundreds of thousands of DACA recipients who bravely stood up and refused to be ignored.”
Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee, vowed, if elected, to “immediately work to make it permanent by sending a bill to Congress on Day One of my administration.”
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., choked up on the Senate floor moments after the Supreme Court announced its decision.
Schumer said he “cried tears of joy” and called the decision, as well as the court's ruling Monday that existing federal law forbids job discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or transgender status, “a bright ray of sunshine.”
Former President Barack Obama, who put DACA into place by executive order in 2012, also applauded the decision and urged Americans to vote for his former vice president, Biden, in November because he would create a "system that’s truly worthy of this nation of immigrants once and for all."
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