Setting out more of the docket for the 2019-2020 term, the U.S. Supreme Court announced on Monday that the Justices will hear arguments in a series of cases related to protections for a group of younger illegal immigrants in the United States, setting the stage for a decision squarely during the 2020 campaign for President.
Known officially as "Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals," the administrative DACA program from President Barack Obama helped an estimated 700,000 illegal immigrant "Dreamers" from being deported, beginning back in 2012.
The DACA cases will be argued on November 12, along with another high profile immigration case - Hernandez v Mesa - which deals with the fatal cross-border shooting of a Mexican teenager by a U.S. Border Patrol agent.
Like an ongoing legal battle over adding a citizenship question to the 2020 Census, lower courts blocked changes to DACA by the Trump Administration on procedural grounds, fully acknowledging that the President has the power to change the policy.
"To be clear: we do not hold that DACA could not be rescinded as an exercise of Executive Branch discretion," wrote the majority of a Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals panel, which labeled the DACA changes, 'arbitrary and capricious.'
"The government is, as always, free to reexamine its policy choices, so long as doing so does not violate an injunction or any freestanding statutory or constitutional protection," the judges added.
In a speech to the nation in January on immigration, President Trump offered "three years of legislative relief for 700,000 DACA recipients brought here unlawfully by their parents at a young age many years ago."
"This extension will give them access to work permits, Social Security numbers, and protection from deportation, most importantly," Mr. Trump said.
But most Democrats in Congress don't want a DACA extension - they want permanent protection from deportation for DACA recipients - something which has drawn stern opposition from a number of Republicans.
Neither side has given in, leaving those under DACA waiting on the U.S. Supreme Court.
The arguments will be November 12. A decision will come in the lead up to the 2020 election.
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