WASHINGTON (CBS / AP) — The Supreme Court on Thursday rejected President Donald Trump’s effort to end legal protections for 650,000 young immigrants, a stunning rebuke to the president in the midst of his reelection campaign.

The outcome seems certain to elevate the issue in Trump’s campaign, given the anti-immigrant rhetoric of his first presidential run in 2016 and immigration restrictions his administration has imposed since then.

The justices rejected administration arguments that the 8-year-old Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program is illegal and that courts have no role to play in reviewing the decision to end DACA.

Chief Justice John Roberts wrote for the court that the administration did not pursue the end of the program properly.

“We do not decide whether DACA or its rescission are sound policies,“ Roberts wrote. “We address only whether the agency complied with the procedural requirement that it provide a reasoned explanation for its action. Here the agency failed to consider the conspicuous issues of whether to retain forbearance and what if anything to do about the hardship to DACA recipients.”

The Department of Homeland Security can try again, he wrote.

But for now, DACA recipients retain their protection from deportation and their authorization to work in the United States.

Gov. Gavin Newsom released a statement responding to the court’s decision.

“Today’s decision is an important victory, for now, for the hundreds of thousands of Dreamers — including over 200,000 Californians — who contribute deeply to their communities each day. They are our neighbors, our coworkers and our friends, and in California, we will continue to have their backs,” Newsom said.

The governor went on to say, “We need a permanent solution for undocumented Californians and acknowledge that a pathway to citizenship is not enough.”

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra represented the state of California in one of the lawsuits challenging the termination of the programs.

University of California President Janet Napolitano, who filed another of the lawsuits, called the ruling “a victory for hundreds of thousands of young people who are making vital contributions to their families, schools, employers, and the nation.”

Santa Clara County Counsel James Williams, who also filed a lawsuit, said, “Today’s Supreme Court decision is a victory for all Americans
and a repudiation of the Trump Administration’s heartless, anti-immigrant policies.”

© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press and Bay City News Service contributed to this report.

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