The U.S. Supreme Court has blocked the federal administration’s attempt to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which protects hundreds of thousands of immigrants brought to the U.S. as children from deportation, including as many as 20,000 teachers (many of whom are much needed bilingual educators) and the parents of more than a quarter of a million U.S.-born children.
The Court says that the program should be reset to its original 2012 mandate and must accept new applications.
When President Trump tried to end the program in 2017, a slew of litigants led by the University of California sued to protect it, winning several decisions in lower courts which were appealed to the Supreme Court, where they were consolidated.
Written by Chief Justice John Roberts, joined by Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Elena Kagan, Stephen Breyer, and Sonia Sotomayor, the 5-4 ruling found that the decision to end DACA was “arbitrary and capricious,” explaining that the administration had failed to supply an adequate reason to justify ending the program. “We do not decide whether DACA or its rescission are sound policies,” wrote Roberts. “‘The wisdom’ of those decisions ‘is none of our concern.’ We address only whether the agency complied with the procedural requirement that it provide a reasoned explanation for its action.”
In response to the news, the Center for the Transformation of Schools UCLA (@ctschoolsucla) tweeted, “The Supreme Court votes to uphold #DACA, protecting hundreds of thousands from deportation. This is a monumental win-albeit a temporary one-for the estimated 83,000 #undocumented college students and 4,000 teachers across CA.”
In his first reaction, President Trump retweeted a tweet featuring Justice Clarence Thomas’ dissent, stating that the decision was “an effort to avoid a politically controversial but legally correct decision.”
According to the Center for American Progress analysis, nearly 256,000 U.S.-born, and thus U.S.-citizen, children have at least one parent who is a DACA recipient. Across the country, 1.5 million individuals live with a DACA recipient.
Neera Tanden, president and CEO of the Center for American Progress, issued the following statement, “Every day for the past several months, 29,000 health care workers and more than 200,000 workers in critical infrastructure roles have relied upon the protections of DACA to continue going to work at great personal risk to support the country that is their home. The challenges have only become greater in recent weeks, as the country has confronted once more the painful reality that Black and brown lives are too easily disregarded by systems of oppression. Enough is enough. The Trump administration must immediately end its attacks on DACA and DACA recipients and reopen the initiative to accept new applications from qualifying immigrant youth. In finding the rescission of DACA to be arbitrary and capricious, the court confirmed what we’ve known for years: that the Trump administration put its policy aims above following the law.”
“Americans today demand change that produces equitable outcomes and lives up to the best ideals of this nation. It is now up to the Senate to provide a permanent solution for Dreamers and Temporary Protected Status (TPS) holders and pass the American Dream and Promise Act, or H.R. 6. This is a time for all Americans to come together, because it will take every single one of us to safely and successfully defeat the coronavirus pandemic; to help rebuild the American economy by creating small businesses, revitalizing our communities, and investing in the country’s future; and to finally realize the promise of America. The Senate must not abdicate its responsibility; they must act swiftly and put people first. Putting Dreamers and TPS holders on a path to citizenship.”
The administration may try again to end the program with a different explanation, but it seems unlikely to act soon against an increasingly popular policy with the presidential election looming.