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John Roberts has made his decision, now let him enforce it

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Trump is truly the heir of Old Hickory:

The Trump administration announced on Tuesday that it will continue to defy a federal court order compelling the full restoration of DACA, the Obama-era program that allows 700,000 immigrants to live and work in the United States legally. By doing so, the administration has chosen to flout a decision by the Supreme Court, effectively rejecting the judiciary’s authority to say what the law is.

Donald Trump first attempted to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program in September 2017, a move that would’ve stripped its beneficiaries of work permits and subjected them to deportation. But his administration continually cut corners, failing to explain the basis for its decision and refusing to consider the impact of DACA repeal on immigrants, their communities, and their employers (including the U.S. Army). This June, the Supreme Court ruled that the administration’s actions were “arbitrary and capricious” under federal law and therefore “set aside” DACA repeal.

To implement that decision, U.S. District Judge Paul Grimm compelled the administration to restore DACA to its pre-repeal condition on July 17. Grimm’s order required the Department of Homeland Security to let DACA beneficiaries renew their status for two years, accept new applicants, and restore “advance parole,” which permits travel outside the country. But DHS did not do that. Instead, the agency maintained that it would reject new DACA applicants. It  also declined to accept DACA renewals or reinstate advance parole.

At a hearing Friday, Grimm tore into Justice Department attorneys for flouting his order. The government’s actions, he explained, created “a feeling and a belief that the agency is disregarding binding decisions” from the Supreme Court. DOJ attorneys insisted that DACA applications were merely “on hold,” or “placed into a bucket,” while the administration decided how to proceed. But, as Grimm retorted, “it is a distinction without a difference to say that this application has not been denied, it has been received and it has been put in a bucket.” The judge once again directed DHS to comply with the law by accepting new applicants and processing renewals.

Incredibly, the agency has decided to disobey this order, as well. On Tuesday, acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf declared that it would not accept new applications and would only grant one-year extensions to current beneficiaries “on a case by case basis.” This tactic will make it easier for Trump to deport DACA beneficiaries if he wins reelection, since their status will expire sooner. The agency will also deny advance parole “absent exceptional circumstances.” This new policy is nothing less than brazen defiance of a federal court ruling. Grimm, and the Supreme Court itself, ordered DACA’s full resuscitation, which requires the acceptance of new applicants and the conferral of two-year renewals. There is simply no legal basis for DHS’s zombie version of the program.

I’m so old I remember when the spouse of a candidate having a brief discussion with the Attorney General on a tarmac was a days-long five alarm scandal. And yet Donald Trump saying “I will ignore the courts if they say I can’t do racisms” will cause barely a ripple.

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