RICHMOND, Va. -- A federal appeals court ruled Friday the Trump administration acted in an "arbitrary and capricious" manner when it sought to end an Obama-era program that shields young immigrants from deportation.
Friday's ruling will not have any immediate effect as other federal courts have already ordered that DACA be kept in place.
The 4th Circuit ruling said the Department of Homeland Security did not "adequately account" for how ending DACA program would affect the hundreds of thousands of young people who "structured their lives" around the program.
"We recognize the struggle is not over and there are more battles to fight in the Supreme Court on this road to justice, but our families are emboldened by knowing that they are on the right side of history," said Gustavo Torres, executive director of Casa de Maryland, the lead plaintiff in the case.
Trump and his Justice Department have argued that the Obama administration acted unlawfully when it implemented DACA. The Justice Department declined to comment.
Preserving DACA is a top Democratic priority, but discussions between Trump and Democrats on the issue have gone nowhere.
DACA's fate could be decided by the Supreme Court, which is weighing the Trump administration's appeals of other federal court rulings.
The justices have set no date to take action.
If the high court decides it wants to hear the appeals, arguments would not take place before the fall. That means a decision is not expected until 2020, which could come in the thick of next year's presidential contest.
Associated Press writer Mark Sherman in Washington contributed to this report.