The Trump administration asked the Supreme Court on Monday to take up a case concerning the government's decision to phase out an Obama-era initiative that protects from deportation young undocumented immigrants who came to the United States as children.
In doing so, government lawyers sought to bypass federal appeals courts that have yet to rule definitively on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.
In court papers, Solicitor General Noel Francisco asked the justices to take up the case this term and argued that district judges who had issued opinions against the administration were "wrong" to do so. Francisco pointed out that back in 2012 the Obama administration allowed some "700,000 aliens to remain in the United States even though existing laws provided them no ability to do so."
Francisco said that "after a change in administrations" the Department of Homeland Security ended the policy "based on serious doubts about its legality and the practical implications of maintaining it."
The filing came the night before the midterm elections as President Donald Trump has repeatedly brought up immigration to rally his base in the final hours before the vote.
In September 2017, the government announced plans to phase out the program, but lower court judges blocked the administration from doing so and ordered that renewals of protections for recipients continue until the appeals are resolved.
The legality of the program is not at issue in the case. Instead, lower courts are examining how the government chose to wind it down.
Supporters of the roughly 700,000 young immigrants who could be affected by the end of DACA say the administration's actions were arbitrary and in violation of federal law.