The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday dealt President Trump a major setback on his hardline immigration policies, ruling against his bid to end a program that protects from deportation hundreds of thousands of immigrants, dubbed “Dreamers,” who entered the United States illegally as children.
The justices on a 5-4 vote upheld lower court rulings that found that Trump’s 2017 move to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, created in 2012 by his Democratic predecessor Barack Obama, was unlawful.
Conservative Chief Justice John Roberts joined the court’s four liberals in finding that the administrations actions were “arbitrary and capricious” under a federal law called the Administrative Procedure Act.
The ruling means that the roughly 649,000 immigrants, mostly young Hispanic adults born in Mexico and other Latin American countries, currently enrolled in DACA will remain protected from deportation and eligible to obtain renewable two-year work permits.
California has the largest number of DACA recipients of any state with over 200,000 registered under the program.
The ruling does not prevent Trump from trying again to end the program. But his administration is unlikely to be able to end DACA before the Nov. 3 election in which Trump is seeking a second four-year term in office.