Dreamers Win at Supreme Court, Fight Not Over Yet
Last updated 6/25/2020 at 10:22am
On the morning of June 18, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients and their supporters across the country awoke knowing that today could be the Supreme Court ruling on DACA. This could be the day that decided their future in America, the only country that most of them had only known and loved.
At 7 a.m., joy and shock reverberated around the DACA community; the Supreme Court had ruled in their favor 5 – 4 to not let the Trump administration rescind the DACA program. Tears of joy and relief were seen from dreamers across the country. How had this happened?
What you need to know first, is the Supreme Court was not deciding on the legality of the DACA program, but whether the Trump administration and department of homeland security had followed the correct procedures and given specific evidence as to why they were rescinding this very popular program, that had been put in place by executive order of the Obama Administration in 2012.
DACA is a United States immigration policy allows eligible participants a two-year renewable government work visa. Eligibility requirements are stiff: a Dreamer must have arrived in the U.S. prior to June of 2007 and before turning sixteen but not older than 30, be in high school, college, or the military, have no criminal background, pay the $495 fee, and pass a government background check – which happens every two years in order to renew the visa. Dreamers, those who entered the U.S. typically as small children that came with relatives or other adults, are protected from deportation only while their DACA is active.
The judges decided 5 – 4, with Judge Roberts joining the more progressive side of the court, to decide that the current administration and DHS had not followed procedure or given specific reasons for its cancellation.
What does this mean for Dreamers across the country? First of all, renewals of DACA work permits can continue for the moment. DACA allows those that meet all the requirements of the program, including passing an FBI background check every two years, to live and work legally in the country. This is a huge relief for those whose work permits are due to expire this year, to be able to continue working and contributing to their communities and this country.
Second, the Supreme Court ordered that the program needs to go back to how it was in 2012, which means that new applications need to be accepted from those who meet all the stringent rules for approval. No new applications have been accepted since 2017. At this time, we are still waiting from DHS to issue an official notice that the program is open to new applications.
What’s next ? Well the DACA community had less than 24 hours to enjoy their victory. President Donald Trump announced via Twitter that DHS would be producing new paperwork to meet the requirements needed to indeed cancel the program. The ruling of the court left it open for new documents to be filed showing specific reasons and evidence as to why the program can be rescinded. The only good news is that is likely to take several months for this to take place and the Supreme Court is unlikely to hear the case again before the election on Nov. 3.
A more worrying court case than the Supreme Court is now brewing in the background. The Texas Attorney General is re-opening his case against DACA in the Texas Federal Court overseen by Judge Hannen. This court case is about the legality of DACA and could be far more dangerous to DACA than any other court case. Judge Hannen has given both sides until July 24 to file new briefs.
So yes, DACA is safe for the moment, but the fight is far from over. The only way for Dreamers to be safe in this country and their future secure, is for Congress to pass a bill that gives them a path to citizenship, which they have proved they deserve. In fact, 85% of Americans believe that DACA recipients should have a path to citizenship and be able to stay in America.
The fight is far from over and dreamers will continue to live in limbo until Congress and the President pass legislation to secure their future. But for the moment, the win at the Supreme Court will be enjoyed and embraced as a glimmer of hope for the future.