U.S. Supreme Court swats Trump’s attempts to end DACA

STEPHON JOHNSON | 6/25/2020, midnight
DACA recipients and supporters have a win...for now.
U.S. Supreme Court Image by skeeze from Pixabay

DACA recipients and supporters have a win...for now.

Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected Pres. Donald Trump’s attempt to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Referrals (DACA) executive order from President Barack Obama. In a 5-4 decision, Supreme Court Justice John Roberts joined the four liberal justices in swatting down Trump’s attempts to end the program for good.

In the majority statement, Roberts said that considering legislation as sound policies is none of the Supreme Court’s business and that other issues should’ve been brought to the forefront to contest the executive order.

Roberts said that the Department of Homeland Security “failed to consider the conspicuous issues of whether to retain forbearance and what if anything to do about the hardship to DACA recipients. That dual failure raises doubts about whether the agency appreciated the scope of its discretion or exercised that discretion in a reasonable manner.”

Higher ups at United We Dream Action, who purport themselves to be the “largest immigrant youth-led community in the country,” said that the legal win is nice, but the fight’s not over and they will continue to fight against white supremacy and anti-Black racism.

“While this win will bring temporary relief to immigrant youth and our families who have been living in limbo since Trump ended DACA in 2017, our fight is not done,” said Greisa Martinez Rosas, DACA recipient and Deputy Executive Director of United We Dream Action. He said the decision “follows weeks of courageous uprising by Black people and allies to demand justice for the continued murders of Black people. We are in solidarity with Black people and Black immigrants who are calling for the defunding of police.

“We know that the police, and the deportation force of ICE and CBP were born of white supremacy and anti-Blackness and must be defunded,” Rosas concluded.

Rosas isn’t the only one staying on her toes. Arisaid Gonzalez Porras, a Georgetown University student and a DACA recipient, appreciates the current ruling but is prepared to fight another legal challenge by the Trump administration when the moment comes.

“I was 16 years-old when I first got my DACA protections,” said Porras, “in that time, DACA has allowed me to dream big, it has allowed me to travel, to work, to feel like the rest of my peers. Yet, this is not enough. DACA is still only a temporary permit and doesn’t protect the over 11 million undocumented people living in this country. This decision does not mean the Trump administration will not attempt to rescind the program again, and we need all our state and local elected officials to take action to protect DACA recipients in their communities.”

But the Trump administration marches on. During a White House press briefing, White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEany said that the Supreme Court’s decision confirmed that Trump was in the right, but lost based on a technicality and will refile paperwork in its attempt to end DACA.

“...[T]his was a situation where you had all of the justices saying that Pres. Trump was essentially right on the law on DACA,” McEany said. “But you had the majority, in the majority opinion, quote, ‘the dispute before the Court is not whether DHS may rescind DACA. All parties agree that it may…’ be rescinded. His dispute is instead primarily about the procedure the agency followed in doing so.

“So in other words, President Trump was right on the law here. It was unlawful the way President Obama went about this,” added McEany.

DACA is an executive order from the Obama administration that protects immigrants, who came to the United States when they were children, from deportation.

It’s an executive order that didn’t pass the smell test now or then according to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

“DACA was created through an Executive Branch memorandum after President Obama said repeatedly that it was illegal for him to do so unilaterally and despite the fact that Congress affirmatively rejected the proposal on multiple occasions,” said USCIS Deputy Director for Policy Joseph Edlow. “The constitutionality of this de facto amnesty program created by the Obama administration has been widely questioned since its inception.”

The legislation also has a significant effect on many New Yorkers who are first, second, or third-generation immigrants. New York State Assembly Member Rodneyse Bichotte, whose district houses many undocumented residents, praised the Supreme Court’s decision.

“The xenophobic president and his administration have repeatedly tried to shutter the program, threatening the legal status of those who have resided here for almost their entire lives,” stated Bichotte. “...the conservative-leaning Supreme Court defied expectations and ruled that the government failed to give an adequate justification for ending the federal program. The next step is for Congress to pass legislation that would finally make DACA––which is supported by a majority of Americans––permanent. This is an important ruling for the 42nd District, which is home to many immigrants and ‘Dreamers.’ Once the legislation is permanent, we will have won, but this step is worth celebrating.

Lagging behind Democratic Presidential candidate Joe Biden in the polls., pundits and immigrant activists alike believe that the president will use this issue to try and rally his base to carry him to reelection. In a tweet after the ruling Trump said, “We need more Justices or we will lose our 2nd Amendment & everything else...Vote Trump 2020!”

Elsewhere, Steve Choi, executive director of the New York Immigrant Coalition, said that the city’s immigrants can breathe a sigh a relief for the time being as the fight continues.

“In New York, the epicenter of America’s COVID-19 outbreak, 50,000 New Yorkers and their families can sigh in relief, though only until the next cruel attack on immigrant communities,” said Choi. The Trump administration has already proved that it is willing to go to any lengths to end immigration as we know it—from extremist immigration bans, to dramatic cuts to legal immigration to administrative rule changes implemented without any Congressional oversight. 

This week, Trump used an executive order to suspend certain work visas for the rest of the calendar year. This includes H-1B visas, H-2B visas, H-4 visas, L-1 visas and J-1 visas. These visas are usually used by seasonal employees, tech workers, executives transferring to the U.S. from other countries and researchers.

Javier H. Valdés, co-executive director of Make the Road New York, said those who fight for immigrant rights need to armor themselves against the “unwavering hostility” of the Trump administration.

“As the Trump administration continues to make our immigration system more cruel, immigrant youth and many other people in our communities are still in need of permanent solutions that secure their futures here at home. We will continue our fight for justice for all.” said Valdés.