DACA Arrives at the Supreme Court

For some time, I have puzzled over why the Obama administration’s DACA (“Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals”) program has not been declared unconstitutional, while Obama’s DAPA (“Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents”) went down to judicial defeat. We won’t have to wait much longer, as the U.S. Supreme Court has taken the case and will hear arguments tomorrow:

The long-running battle over the Trump administration’s bid to end the Obama-era program for young undocumented immigrants known as “Dreamers” will land before the Supreme Court on Tuesday.
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“The administration has basically chalked up the fact that they are going to lose a lot of these cases in the lower courts,” said Thomas Dupree, a former top Bush Justice Department official and now an appellate attorney.

“But they’re playing the long game. I think that there are those in the White House and the Justice Department who have made a calculation saying, ‘Look we can absorb all these losses in the lower courts because we are going to win the endgame when this case gets into the Supreme Court.’”

It remains to be seen how the court will rule, however, on this complicated issue — which concerns the limits of one president trying to rescind the policies of his predecessor.

It is hard to understand why one president cannot “rescind the policies of his predecessor” by following the same procedure his predecessor did.

The Trump administration announced its plan to phase out the program in 2017, only for the federal courts to rule that it could not apply retroactively and that DACA should be restarted in full. The White House fought back on those decisions, saying the president has broad authority over immigration enforcement policy.

He certainly does. I haven’t studied the briefs so as to be up to speed on the technical arguments that will be presented to the Court tomorrow. But at the end of the day, it is hard to see how the courts can hold that the president is legally barred from carrying out his constitutional duty to see that the laws–including the immigration laws–are faithfully executed.

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