By Michael Hernandez
WASHINGTON (AA) - The Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal from the Trump administration Monday after a lower court upended the president's attempt to end a program that protects certain young immigrants.
"It is assumed that the Court of Appeals will proceed expeditiously to decide this case," the court said in a brief unsigned order after the administration made the unusual move of seeking to circumvent the appeals process to go directly to the top court.
It is exceedingly rare for the Supreme Court to hear a case without it first going to an appeals court.
The Supreme Court's decision leaves in place a California court's ruling, which barred President Donald Trump from ending renewal applications for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Its recipients, known as Dreamers, were thrown into legal uncertainty after Trump moved last year to end the program that protects hundreds of thousands of those brought to the U.S. illegally as children.
Trump gave lawmakers until March 5 to come up with a replacement, and has been locked in bitter negotiations with Democrats about replacing the program in exchange for a raft of immigration overhauls that would end other avenues of legal immigration.
It is unclear how the decision Monday will affect those talks. Much of the DACA program will continue to proceed as normal until a final decision is made.
Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions had sought to justify DACA's end by saying the program was illegal and they risked litigation by keeping it running. That reasoning was called a "plainly incorrect factual premise" by a New York judge earlier this month following the California court's ruling.
"Reliance on this 'litigation risk' rationale would have been arbitrary and capricious, in light of defendants' failure to explain their decision or to consider any factors that might have weighed against ending the DACA program," District Judge Nicholas G. Garaufis ruled in the second major defeat to Trump's effort.
Garaufis and District Judge William Haskell Alsup agreed Trump has the power to end DACA, but said the administration acted arbitrarily in doing so.