By Lawrence Hurley
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Supreme Court closed the door at least for now on President Donald Trump’s effort to end protections for hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants dubbed “Dreamers,” with the justices again silent on Tuesday on three related appeals.
Unless the court breaks with its normal procedure, the nine justices would not be able to hear arguments and decide the case in its current term, which ends in June. If they eventually agree to hear the matter, it most likely would be decided during their nine-month term that begins in October, meaning a ruling could come in the 2020 presidential election year.
The Justice Department has filed appeals concerning the Republican president’s September 2017 move, blocked by lower courts, to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program implemented in 2012 by his Democratic predecessor Barack Obama.
DACA protects about 700,000 immigrants, often called “Dreamers” based on the name of the Dream Act legislation that failed to pass Congress, from deportation and provides them work permits, though not a path to citizenship. Most of the “Dreamers” are Hispanic young adults.
With the lower courts ruling against the administration and the high court not yet taking action, DACA remains in place.
After Tuesday, the high court is not in session for almost a month and the justices are not due to meet again privately to discuss action on pending appeals until Feb. 15.
Trump on Saturday proposed a deal to end the ongoing partial government shutdown that would include a three-year extension of DACA protections in return for congressional Democrats agreeing to allow $5.7 billion in funding to help pay for a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Democrats, who oppose the wall, rejected the offer.
Top Senate Democrat Chuck Schumer on Saturday noted that it was Trump who moved to rescind DACA and that the president’s offer of a temporary extension of some protections for the Dreamers in exchange for wall money was not a compromise but “more hostage-taking.”
Trump’s tough immigration policies have been a hallmark of his presidency, backing limits on legal and illegal immigration since taking office in January 2017.
(Reporting by Lawrence Hurley; Editing by Will Dunham)