The clock is not ticking on DACA

There is no March 5 deadline as of today. In January, a federal district judge slapped an injunction on Trump’s executive order while legal challenges to it proceed. While Trump’s Justice Department is appealing the decision, it did not ask for an immediate stay. A second federal district judge this week echoed that decision. At this moment, DACA lives and is accepting applications for two-year permit renewals, though it is not taking new applicants.

How long will that injunction remain in place? That’s not clear yet, but it’s very possible it will remain for months, even years. This week the Supreme Court will decide whether it will take the case, and skip over the federal appellate court stage of the process, as the Justice Department has requested. That would be an unusual move for the Supreme Court to make, and since Justice did not ask for an emergency stay of the injunction, some court watchers believe the urgency does not exist for the Supreme Court to expedite the case. Even if the high court does take the case, it doesn’t have to consider it immediately. It could decide this term, which ends in June, or put it on the next term’s calendar.

As long as DACA is in place, there’s no pressure on Democrats to deal. And if Democrats have weak leverage today, they have every reason to play for more time.