A US appeals court ruled on Friday that President Donald Trump cannot end a program that shielded from deportation immigrants brought into the country illegally as children, the second time the administration has lost an appeal on the issue.
The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia, said in its ruling that the 2017 rescission of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program violated administrative law because the policy change was not adequately explained.
The ruling reversed a decision by a federal court in Maryland, and sent the case back for further proceedings.
A similar decision was reached by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco in November, which upheld a lower court injunction against ending the program.
Republican Trump’s Democratic predecessor, Barack Obama, began DACA in 2012. It shielded a group of immigrants known as “Dreamers” and has given them work permits but not a path to citizenship. About 800,000 people, mostly Hispanics, have received DACA protection.
Trump administration announced plans in September 2017 to phase out DACA, arguing that Obama exceeded his constitutional powers when he bypassed Congress and created the program.
Rights groups, states and individuals filed numerous lawsuits against the Trump administration over the decision to end the program. A series of lower courts have generally ruled against the government, leaving DACA in place for now.