By Lewis-Burke Associates
The U.S. Supreme Court delivered a 5-4 ruling striking down President Trump’s 2017 attempt to dismantle the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Program. DACA is a program, established by the Obama Administration in 2012, that protects nearly 650,000 undocumented immigrants who arrived in the U.S. as children from deportation. The Supreme Court’s majority argued that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) did not comply with the Administrative Procedure Act by not giving a proper justification for its decision. The majority stated in its argument that DHS failed to provide sufficient justification to rescind the program entirely, rather than limit the scope of the DACA program, for example only eliminating work authorizations granted for DACA recipients. The majority’s decision also highlighted that DHS did not consider hardships current DACA recipients could face if the program were to be ended.
Although DACA recipients and supporters praised the Supreme Court’s decision, the ruling did not address the merits of the program nor the decision to end it; only on whether the Trump administration acted lawfully in its attempt to do so. The majority’s opinion in fact notes that the Trump Administration may try again. President Trump later tweeted that his Administration would seek to again rescind the program, and other DHS officials released similar statements. Still, it is unclear whether the Administration will attempt to do so before the November presidential election.
Advocates for DACA have expressed concern that terminating the DACA program would subject a large number of immigrants, many of them students or essential employees in a number of critical sectors such as healthcare and education, to deportation, subjecting both recipients and the U.S. to additional uncertainty during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Sources and Additional Information:
- The majority opinion of the Supreme Court on the Department of Homeland Security v. Regents of the University of California can be found here.
- DHS’s statement on the Supreme Court’s decision can be found here.
- A Demographic Profile of DACA Recipients by the Center for American Progress can be found here.