President Donald Trump’s attempt to put an end to Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) backfired on his administration Thursday as the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of upholding the policy.
The court ruled 5-4 in favor of continuing the program to allow undocumented immigrants who arrived at a young age stay in the United States provoking praise from New York lawmakers who have fought for protections for immigrants at the state level.
Chief Justice John G. Roberts, who joined the court’s four liberal justices in the majority, said the decision did not defend the policy itself, but condemned the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s overreach in immigration enforcement in regard to DACA.
“We address only whether the [Department of Homeland Security] complied with the procedural requirement that it provide a reasoned explanation for its action,” Roberts wrote in the majority opinion. “Here the agency 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.”
According to state Attorney General Letitia James, 150,000 Dreamers live in New York, just a sliver of the estimated 700,000 nationwide in her defense of the program put in place by President Barack Obama in 2012 to allow undocumented immigrants to work, and which the Trump administration has worked to dismantle over the last two years.
“Today’s decision reaffirms that there is no question that home is here for more than 700,000 Dreamers across the country,” James said. “The Supreme Court’s decision today sets aside an inhumane injustice by the Trump Administration and permits young people who go to school here, who work here, who pay taxes here, who raise families here, and who are vital members of our communities to continue to be able to live in their homes without fear of arrest or deportation.”
But the fight is not over for supporters of DACA who say the program is still at risk.
Evan Stone, Co-Founder of Educators for Excellence, explains that until the legislative branch of government takes serious action on codifying the executive memorandum, opponents of DACA could continue to declare open season.
“Dreamers are among our country’s best and brightest, studying for the future, working as teachers, doctors and nurses, and in so many other vital roles in our communities,” Stone said. “This is a hugely important step by the Supreme Court in affirming DACA today. Now it is up to Congress to make these protections for Dreamers more permanent by providing them with a clear path to citizenship, thereby ending decades of legal limbo for these promising young Americans.”
In 2019, a hard fought victory for progressives in Albany saw the Jose Peralta DREAM Act passed in both chambers of the legislature and passed by Governor Andrew Cuomo. The bill, named after one of its late sponsors and champions, became one of the first laws in the nation to grant undocumented immigrants access to financial aid for higher education.