NEW YORK – The U.S. Supreme Court yesterday rejected the Trump administration’s attempt to end a program that allows undocumented immigrants who arrived as children to live and work in this country without fear of deportation.
The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program or DACA was created in 2012 by the Obama administration. It allows nearly 700,000 young people, known as “Dreamers,” to legally go to school, work and get drivers’ licenses.
But in 2017, the Trump administration said DACA was illegal and would be terminated. Trudy Rebert, staff attorney with the National Immigration Law Center and one of the litigators defending DACA, said the high court called the termination efforts “arbitrary and capricious.”
“The decision clearly rules that the Trump administration unlawfully rescinded DACA,” says Rebert, “in particular by failing to consider the hardships that the rescission would have on DACA recipients and their families.”
Chief Justice John Roberts wrote the majority opinion, which was joined by Justices Breyer, Ginsberg, Kagan and Sotomayor.
The ruling has brought welcome relief to thousands of immigrants who had expected a more negative outcome. But Karen Garcia, a DACA recipient and a member of “Make the Road New York” – which is a plaintiff in the suit – says there is still a long way to go.
“We demand DACA renewals and new applications to be accepted immediately, and the Trump administration to leave DACA in place,” says Garcia. “We demand permanent protections. Our home is here, and our fight is not over.”
Since the ruling rejected the termination of DACA on procedural grounds, DACA still could face more court challenges.
Yesterday’s Supreme Court ruling was the second in a week to overturn Trump administration efforts to roll back policies put in place by the Obama administration. Rebert sees the ruling as a major victory for grassroots activism.
“We are here because our communities fought for and won DACA,” says Rebert. “And people all around the country have mobilized to affirm that, to DACA recipients and their families, their home is here.”
She says the next step will be to secure permanent protection from deportation, for Dreamers and the immigrant community as a whole.