DACA Decision

Aarushi Sharma

June 28, 2020

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Trump Claims "nothing was lost or won" in Response to US Supreme Court's DACA Ruling

The US Supreme Court rejected the Trump administration's plan to rescind the Deferred Action of Childhood Travellers (DACA) program, which protects about 700,000 young immigrants referred to as "Dreamers" from being potentially deported on June 18, 2020.

The program, introduced by President Obama in 2012, was instituted to protect children who were brought into the United States as children but did not hold legal residency or citizenship status. Dreamers can hold DACA status for two years at a time which is renewable; however, the program itself does not provide a pathway to citizenship. Dreamers receive, among others, such benefits as eligibility to receive in-state tuition, health insurance from employers, drivers' licenses, and work permits.

The decision was split 5-4 with Chief Justice John Roberts writing the majority opinion. While Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, and Elena Kagan concurred in the judgment, Justice Sonia Sotomayor concurred in part and dissented in part, but ultimately joined the Chief Justice's opinion.

Chief Justice Roberts previously upheld President Trump's Muslim Travel Ban, which prohibited residents of Iran, Syria, Libya, Somalia, and Yemen, as well as travelers from North Korea and listed Venezuelan government officials to enter the United States, in 2018. He also wrote the opinion which allowed for the dismantling of the Voting Rights Act in 2013 which required southern states to seek the federal authorities' permission before changing any electoral rules to prevent racial discrimination in the voting process.

However, the program came under attack when the Trump administration moved to end it in 2017, halting new applications and threatening the status of existing Dreamers. However, as The New York Times reports, "Lower courts have decided that people who already have protected status would be able to renew it until the Supreme Court issued a final ruling." Non-profit organizations have begun providing free legal aid to DACA recipients in need of renewing their status following the new ruling.

As the court's decision states, the case before the court was not to determine the merits and/or demerits of the program itself, rather whether the Trump administration was acting awfully in pushing to terminate the program, implying that the administration can attempt once again to fulfill its agenda.

"The Supreme Court asked us to resubmit on DACA, nothing was lost or won... We will be submitting enhanced papers shortly to properly fulfill the Supreme Court's ruling & request of yesterday," President Trump, who has previously referred to Dreamers as "hardened criminals," tweeted in response to the ruling.

However, the Supreme Court has not formally asked the administration to resubmit any documents.

The battle for Dreamers to be permitted to stay in the country is far from over with some believing that this ruling is only the first step.

Jacqueline Bhabha, professor of the practice of health and human rights at Harvard University, expressed a similar opinion to The Financial Times.

"For now, the Daca-mented [people holding DACA status] can continue to work, study, live with their families, and lead their lives free from imminent deportation. But they are not out of the woods," Bhabha said. "Only legislation can convert the discretionary suspension of deportation into a permanent legal status leading to citizenship. That, like so much else in the US, depends on the November election."

Aarushi Sharma is a student at New York University pursuing a degree in Media, culture, and communications, and politics. She has previously been a news reporter for the Washington Square News, the largest independent college newspaper and WNYU 89.1 FM. She is interested in public policy research and prison reform.

Instagram: @aarushisharmas
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Twitter: @aarushisharmas

Opinions expressed by the author are not necessarily those of WITI.

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