The Supreme Court on Monday (February 26) refused to hear the Trump administration’s challenge to a lower court ruling that blocked the administration from ending Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), the Obama-era initiative that protects immigrants who came to the United States as children from deportation.

The administration took the unorthodox step of asking the high court to bypass the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and review a January 9 federal court decision to maintain DACA while litigation over president Donald Trump’s initiative plays out in courts. Sixteen attorneys general sued the Trump administration immediately after it announced the end of DACA last September. 

Weeks later, another federal judge issued a nationwide injunction blocking Trump from ending DACA, which protects roughly 700,000 immigrants from deportation, arguing that the reasons the Trump administration gave for ending the program were too discretionary.

In denying the Trump administration’s plea to hear the case, SCOTUS said in a statement: “It is assumed that the Court of Appeals will proceed expeditiously to decide this case.” 

The Supreme Court rarely agrees to review cases before an appellate court has ruled. It could still consider the DACA case later, after the San Francisco-based federal appeals court hears the case.

In the meantime, the decision buys time for DACA recipients, called “Dreamers,” who were scheduled to lose their protections on March 5. Congress has struggled for months to find a legislative solution for the young immigrants. 

In late January, Trump released an immigration framework that would provide 1.8 million of them with a 10- to 12-year path to citizenship, in exchange for $25 billion to fund his border wall, a drastic reduction in the family-based migration and the end of the visa lottery program, which provides 50,000 permanent resident visas annually.

But bipartisan proposals have repeatedly fallen short. Just two weeks ago, the Senate voted on four separate immigration bills. All failed, including one measure that Trump labeled “a total catastrophe.”

After months of frutrated negotiation over a permanent legislative solution, legislators are currently weighing a temporary one. Reports have emerged that the Senate is weighing a three-year entension of protections. The measure would protect young immigrants from deportation in exchange for $7.6 billion for border portection, according to The Hill.