RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:
The U.S. Supreme Court has made a decision this morning not to take up a key case related to DACA. That's the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, put in place by the Obama administration, that affects hundreds of thousands of people brought to this country as children now residing in the U.S. illegally. President Trump rescinded DACA. And since then, it's been making its way through the courts. Joining us now in studio, NPR political editor Domenico Montanaro. Hey, Domenico.
DOMENICO MONTANARO, BYLINE: Hey there, Rachel.
MARTIN: Explain the significance of the court saying it's not going to hear a case.
MONTANARO: Well, the court said that this case has to wind its way through the appeals process. Remember. The two lower courts have already blocked President Trump's decision to rescind DACA. The case was next supposed to go to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in California, which - if you follow the court's closely - is a famously pretty liberal-leaning court.
MARTIN: Or even not closely, you would know that, yeah.
MONTANARO: So the Trump administration was trying to skip the 9th Circuit. It didn't want them to have to hear this. The Supreme Court said, no, no, no, the 9th Circuit gets to hear it first.
MARTIN: So this is a blow to the administration?
MONTANARO: You know, it's a delay, right? I mean, this means for now DACA stays in place. The court did not rule on the merits or even indicate which way it would lean. So this was really all about process. We'll likely be back here very shortly.
MARTIN: I don't know if you can answer this question. But what does this mean now for DACA - especially for the people who are sitting there waiting to understand if they can stay in this country or not?
MONTANARO: Well, it's all still really confusing. I mean, that's the first thing. When the president rescinded Obama's DACA executive order, you know, he gave it an expiration date. He gave it six months. Guess what? That's six months is up exactly one week from now. So that leaves a lot of uncertainty. On the one hand, the president has given this March 5 deadline for the program to end. But the court challenges to the expiration date are going to continue, which we could run right past that March 5 date.
MONTANARO: And Congress hasn't been able to do anything to come up with a legislative solution. And that really leaves a lot of these DREAMers with a lot of questions that don't have immediate or easy answers.
MARTIN: I mean, we talked about this elsewhere on the show today. There was such bipartisan support to find a fix for DACA, right? And as you know, I mean, Congress just hasn't been able to do that. What happens now? Congress lawmakers are back at work today. Does this ruling in some way create some more urgency for them to do something?
MONTANARO: Well, it's certainly going to shine a spotlight on them, and there are a lot of reporters who are going to ask them a lot of questions. That's for sure. The president has been tweeting though that the Democrats don't want to do anything on DACA, which seems like he's setting up a case against Democrats rather than actually trying to come up with something to affect DACA. So you know, here's where the fissure lines are. It's President Trump saying that he would support anything that had bipartisan support, but he's declined a couple different versions of that.
You know, anything that doesn't meet his four pillars, he's said no to. And those, again, are giving those almost 2 million DREAMers citizenship in exchange for limiting what he calls chain migration, ending the visa lottery program and funding his wall, which Democrats have said that they're not willing to do - especially when it comes to what Democrats call family reunification and conservatives call chain migration. Essentially, Republicans don't want to let parents who brought those children in to stay in the country.
MARTIN: All right, NPR's Domenico Montanaro for us. Thanks so much, Domenico.
MONTANARO: You're welcome. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.