The Supreme Court agreed Friday to decide whether President Trump can lawfully end an Obama-era program that provides certain protections and work permits to young undocumented immigrants brought into the country as children.

A decision on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, will come in the middle of the 2020 presidential election, when immigration is expected to be a major campaign issue.

“We are pleased the Supreme Court has agreed that this issue needs resolution,” said Justice Department spokesman Alexei Woltornist following the Supreme Court announcement.

The court’s timing means that it will hear arguments on various related cases in the Fall, with a decision expected in the Spring or Summer. The DACA case is one of 11 matters the high court added to it’s docket a day after issuing its last decisions before going on a three-month break.

On Thursday, the Supreme Court blocked the Trump administration from adding a question about Citizenship to the 2020 Census –at least until the government can provide a good reason to add it.

The Trump administration has been trying to get the Supreme Court to consider the DACA issue for a year and a half. The program, originated by the Obama administration in 2012, allows qualifying young immigrants to get a temporary deferral from deportation and to work, study and obtain drivers licenses. Some 700,000 of the so-called Dreamers have benefitted from DACA.

In 2017, the Trump administration announced plans to phase out DACA by March of 2018. Several lawsuits were filed to keep DACA in place and in January of 2018 a judge in San Francisco ruled that Trump’s decision to rescind it was based on a “flawed legal premise” and ordered the government to reinstate the program.

Similar decisions were handed down by judges in other jurisdictions. In February of 2018 the Supreme Court refused to quickly rule on President Trump’s ability to end DACA, as requested by the administration.

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, who will defend one of the California lawsuits to be reviewed, said he is committed to defending DACA in the Supreme Court. 

“DACA reflects our nation’s commitment to helping hardworking people and creates hope and opportunity for a new generation – many of whom were brought to our country as toddlers,” Becerra said in a statement. “We look forward to making our case before the Supreme Court.”

Other elected officials reacted to the announcement.

“President Trump’s vicious attempts to dismantle DACA have left our DREAMers living with fear and uncertainty,” said Governor Gavin Newsom in a tweet this morning. “They deserve better.”

“We are a nation that welcomes immigrants,” said County Supervisor Hila Solís in a tweet following the decision. “We must continue to #ProtectTheDream!”

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