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Supreme Court blocks President Trump from ending DACA; Chief Justice John Roberts sides with liberal justices

Trump has tried since 2017 to end the Obama-era program

President Donald Trump shakes hands with Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts before the State of the Union address in the House chamber on Feb. 4. (Photo by Leah Millis-Pool/Getty Images)

The Supreme Court ruled against the Trump administration Thursday, blocking its attempt to end Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, the Obama-era program that provides legal status to undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States as children, The Hill reported.

In a 5-4 decision, Chief Justice John Roberts sided with the liberal justices in ruling that while the Department of Homeland Security has the authority to end DACA, the administration has not adequately justified its reason for wanting to do so.

"The dispute before the Court is not whether [Department of Homeland Security] may rescind DACA," Roberts wrote for the majority. "All parties agree that it may. The dispute is instead primarily about the procedure the agency followed in doing so."

As a result of this ruling, nearly 700,000 DACA recipients will be able to continue renewing their membership in the program, which provides them legal work status and protection from deportation as long as they meet certain criteria.

President Donald Trump first attempted to end DACA in September 2017, when then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that the program would expire after six months. The stated reason for ending that program was not that Trump disagreed with the purpose of the program, but that its implementation through an executive order by former President Barack Obama was improper.

Sessions said at the time that DACA "deliberately sought to achieve what the legislative branch specifically refused to authorize on multiple occasions. Such an open-ended circumvention of immigration laws was an unconstitutional exercise of authority by the executive branch."

Even as he was pushing to end the program, President Trump called on Congress to enact legislation to address immigrants brought to the U.S. illegally as children. Such efforts never gained significant momentum.

DACA recipients must have been brought to the U.S. as children or teenagers before the middle of the year in 2007, and have lived in the United States continuously since then. They also had to be enrolled in high school or college or have earned their diploma or degree, or be an honorably discharged military veteran.

DACA recipients could not have any felony or significant misdemeanor convictions, and no more than three other misdemeanor convictions.

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