The U.S. Supreme Court ruled against the Trump administration’s efforts to end a programme that offers protections for people who immigrated to the United States as minors.
The programme is estimated to offer relief for several hundred people in the U.S., without laying out a path to citizenship, provided they remain law-abiding.
The ruling keeps in place an Obama-era programme known as DACA – deferred action for childhood arrivals – which was enacted in 2012 to protect undocumented or otherwise unlawful migrants, who were brought to the country as children, a group known as Dreamers.
The Trump administration had argued the programme was unlawful, but that regardless of its legality, the executive branch reserved the right to put an end to what it saw as a stopgap measure of the previous White House.
However, the majority ruling said the move was “arbitrary and capricious”, in a blow for Trump who has made restricting immigration a cornerstone of his presidency.
The ruling was written by Chief Justice John Roberts.
“The Supreme Court ruled that DACA recipients can continue to live and work in the United States without the daily fear of deportation,’’ said the American Civil Liberties Union, a key rights group, while warning that without Congressional legislation, the issue is still open.
The court effectively gave the administration an option to make a more detailed explanation for ending the programme and to try again.
“America is a land of hope and opportunity, and thanks to this decision, it will remain a beacon of light for so many,’’ said New York Attorney General, Letitia James, who was part of the effort to keep DACA alive.