By Andrew Chung
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday required Arizona to continue to provide driver's licenses to the so-called Dreamers immigrants and refused to hear the state's challenge to an Obama-era program that protects hundreds of thousands of young adults brought into the country illegally as children.
The case centered on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program created in 2012 under Democratic former President Barack Obama that Republican President Donald Trump already has sought to rescind. Those who signed up for the program are shielded from deportation and given work permits.
The high court refused to hear Republican-governed Arizona's appeal of a lower court ruling that barred the state from denying driver's licenses to people protected under DACA.
The justices on Feb. 26 required the Trump administration to keep DACA in place at least for now, turning away its appeal of a judge's nationwide injunction that halted the president's September order to begin winding down the program in March.
San Francisco-based U.S. District Judge William Alsup on Jan. 9 ruled that the administration must continue to process renewals of existing DACA applications while litigation over the legality of the Republican president's bid to end the program is resolved. A second federal judge has since issued a similar injunction.
(Reporting by Andrew Chung; Editing by Will Dunham)