WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court ruled Thursday that the Trump administration may not immediately proceed with its plan to end a program protecting about 700,000 young immigrants known as Dreamers from deportation.
The court’s ruling was a blow to one of President Trump’s central campaign promises — that as president he would “immediately terminate” an executive order by former President Barack Obama that Mr. Trump had called an illegal executive amnesty for hundreds of thousands of young immigrants.
Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. wrote the majority opinion, joined by the court’s four more liberal members in upholding the program, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA.
“We do not decide whether DACA or its rescission are sound policies,” the chief justice wrote. “We address only whether the agency complied with the procedural requirement that it provide a reasoned explanation for its action.”
After contentious debates among his aides, Mr. Trump announced in September 2017 that he would wind down the program. He gave only a single reason for doing so, saying that creating or maintaining the program was beyond the legal power of any president.
But the justifications the government gave, Chief Justice Roberts wrote, were insufficient. He said the administration may try again to provide adequate reasons for shutting down the program.
The decision was the second this week in which the court reached a result in a major case that elated liberals. On Monday, the court ruled that gay and transgender workers were protected by a landmark civil rights law. Chief Justice Roberts was in the majority in that decision, too.