Supreme Court Rules Against DHS, Calls DACA Termination “Arbitrary and Capricious”

On June 18, the Supreme Court ruled against the Department of Homeland Security in the legal battle over the termination of the DACA program, which protects immigrants who came to the United States as children from immediate deportation. The court’s 5 to 4 vote in favor of the Regents of the University of California, found that DHS’s decision to end DACA was “arbitrary and capricious” under the Administrative Procedure Act (APA). Justice John G. Roberts, Jr. wrote the majority opinion in the decision.

Supreme Court Gives Trump Temporary Win on Green Card Restrictions

In late January, the U.S. Supreme Court voted 5 to 4 to allow a Department of Homeland Security rule change denying green cards and other temporary visas to noncitizens deemed a “public charge.” Under the new immigration rule, the government can consider whether a noncitizen is likely to become reliant on government assistance (or become a “public charge”) for more than 12 months over a three-year period, based on factors such as finances, employment history, and age.

The January 27 ruling in Department of Homeland Security, et al. v. New York, et al. is temporary, pending “the Government’s appeal in the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and disposition of the Government’s petition for a writ of certiorari, if such writ is timely sought.”

With Two Justices Dissenting, Supreme Court Allows Ban on Immigrants Seeking Asylum to Remain

On September 11, 2019, in a 7 to 2 vote, the U.S. Supreme Court effectively permitted the Trump administration to enforce a ban on Central American asylum-seekers, while an appeal continues in a lower court.

The ruling in William Barr, Attorney General, et al. v. East Bay Sanctuary Covenant et al, was temporary in nature, as the Court order stated  “If a writ of certiorari is sought and the Court denies the petition, this order shall terminate automatically.  If the Court grants the petition for a writ of certiorari, this order shall terminate when the Court enters its judgment.”

U.S. District Court Rules Attorney General Cannot Deny Asylum Seekers a Bond Hearing

On July 2, 2019, Federal District Judge Marsha Pechman of the Western District of Washington at Seattle affirmed a preliminary injunction granted in April and modified the injunction “to find that the statutory prohibition at Immigration and Nationality Act § 235(b)(1)(B)(ii) against releasing on bond persons found to have a credible fear of persecution if returned to their country and awaiting a determination of their asylum application violates the U.S. Constitution; the Bond Hearing Class is constitutionally entitled to a bond hearing (under the conditions enumerated above) pending resolution of their asylum applications.”

With Executive Order, Trump Appears to Admit Defeat on Citizenship Question in Census

On July 11th, President Trump announced an executive order calling every federal agency to hand over any information regarding the number of citizens in the U.S. to the Department of Commerce, a move that appeared to end the White House’s effort to include a citizenship question in the U.S. 2020 census.

Trump said, “We will utilize these vast federal databases to gain a full, complete, and accurate count of the noncitizen population including databases maintained by the Department of Homeland Security and the Social Security Administration. We have great knowledge in many of our agencies. We will leave no stone unturned.”

Appeals Court Confirms Block Trump’s on Abortion Ban for Unaccompanied Minors

On June 14, 2019, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit upheld the District Court’s “preliminary injunction against the government’s blanket denial access to abortion for unaccompanied minors,” with Judge Laurence H. Silberman dissenting. The court “vacate[d] and remand[ed], though, a separate aspect of the district court’s preliminary injunction, which bars disclosure to parents and others of unaccompanied minors’ pregnancies and abortion decisions.”

Fourth Circuit Ruling Says Trump’s Termination of DACA Unlawful

On May 17, 2019, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals voted 2-1 that the Trump administration could not rescind the DACA program protecting young undocumented immigrants from deportation. The ruling, by Judge Robert Bruce King and Judge Albert Diaz states that the government’s removal of protections for immigrants who came to the United States as children violates the Administrative Procedure Act (APA). Judge Julius N. Richardson cast the dissenting vote.

Ninth Circuit Allows Policy that Sends Asylum-Seekers Back to Mexico

The Trump Administration won a battle in the Ninth Circuit this week, when a three-judge panel permitted a policy that forces asylum-seekers to wait in Mexico as their U.S. court cases proceed. On May 7, 2019, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit granted the government’s emergency motion to stay the preliminary injunction that had been issued in April by a California District Court.

The case was initially filed in February by the American Civil Liberties Union and other groups on behalf of 11 asylum-seekers from Central America. The complaint alleged that the policy, known as the “Migrant Protection Protocols” (MPP) was in violation of a bedrock principle of U.S. and international law known as “nonrefoulement,” which means that prospective asylum seekers cannot be returned to places where they may be persecuted. It further argued that the MPP was capricious and arbitrary and in violation of the Administrative Procedure Act.