Appeals court denies Homeland Security petition to overturn lower court's DACA ruling

Friday 17 November 2017 at 10:13 AM ET

[JURIST] The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit [official website] on Thursday denied [order, PDF] the Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) [Official website] petition seeking to put a hold on a district court's order requiring the DHS to provide additional justification for ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) [official materials] program.

The district court had ordered the DHS to provide additional justification for the decision to end DACA. DHS had previously provided 256 pages of documentation justifying its decision, although 192 pages consisted of court opinions related to actions regarding the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) [materials]. The Ninth Circuit found that "the notion that the head of a United States agency would decide to terminate a program giving legal protections to roughly 800,000 people based solely on 256 pages of publicly available documents is not credible." The court also held that the DHS must provide documentation related to why the previous DHS Secretary, John Kelly, decided to not terminate DACA in February and June 2017.

The court denied the petition in a 2-1 vote. The majority found that the district court did not make a clear error in its decision to require the additional justification. The dissent by Judge Paul Watford stated that if an agency does not provide an adequate record, the agency's action should be vacated. Watford also states that "internal deliberative processes are ordinarily not part of the administrative record."

Six immigrants filed [JURIST report] the lawsuit against the decision to end DACA in September, arguing that the administration did not follow proper administrative procedure. The US Attorney General announced [JURIST report] the plans to end DACA in early September.