- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 23, 2018

The Supreme Court said Tuesday it will speed up a case involving the Trump administration’s request to cancel the Obama-era DACA deportation amnesty, moving to grab a piece of the unfolding immigration debate.

In a brief order, the justices said they have granted the administration’s request to hear the case even before a ruling by a lower appeals court. Such requests are rarely granted.

A district judge issued a controversial ruling earlier this month that found the 2012 DACA program legal, and found the Homeland Security secretary’s decision to undo the program illegal.

Judge William Alsup, a Clinton appointee to the bench, also ruled then-candidate Donald Trump’s rhetoric about Mexicans proved he had racial animus, which the judge said colored the Homeland Security Department’s decision to phase out DACA.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions has said the ruling “defies both law and common sense.”

The Trump administration argues that the courts don’t have the ability to review immigration decisions such as phasing out DACA, and even if courts are able to rule, in this case the move was legal.

Timing is crucial.

Mr. Trump’s phaseout was supposed to kick in on March 5, when thousands of illegal immigrant “Dreamers” would begin to lose protections each week.

The Justice Department, in asking the Supreme Court to hear the case, called the six-month phaseout a “humane choice” that was better than having the courts rule it illegal and cancel it immediately.

One irony of the case is that the chief plaintiff is Janet Napolitano, who is now president of the University of California, but before that was the Homeland Security secretary who created DACA in 2012.

Ms. Napolitano’s defense of the DACA program is due early next month.

• Stephen Dinan can be reached at sdinan@washingtontimes.com.

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