Feb. 26 (UPI) -- The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday declined a White House request for a quick ruling on President Donald Trump's plan to end protections for undocumented immigrants who arrived in the United States as children.
The high court's decision to stay out of the matter means Trump may not be able to shut down the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program next month, like he ordered.
Last month, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California ruled that the federal government must continue accepting renewals for DACA recipients beyond the March 5 deadline. A second court issued a similar ruling Feb. 13.
Trump's Justice Department had wanted the Supreme Court to bypass the usual appeals court process and review the California court's injunction that blocked the order.
The Supreme Court justices, without dissent, turned down the administration's petition "without prejudice," meaning it could decide in the future to weigh in after a an appeals court makes a decision.
In declining that request Monday, the Supreme Court effectively leaves the matter up to a lower appellate court. The decision could keep a legal shield in place for about 700,000 immigrants protected under the DACA program, known as Dreamers.
The high court's decision represents a setback for Trump's tougher, more security-based immigration policy.
Because the district court injunction remains in place, Dreamers could now keep their legal protections for at least the rest of the year.
The Trump administration's request to the Supreme Court was a rare move. It has been nearly 30 years since the Supreme Court granted a review of a district judge's ruling in an attempt to bypass a the normal appeals process.
Lawmakers have not yet advanced any bill reforming the DACA program.
Trump has proposed a path to U.S. citizenship for Dreamers in exchange for funding for his proposed security wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.