The Supreme Court has decided that the Trump Administration cannot end Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), a program that began in 2012 and has protected more than 650,000 undocumented people who arrived in the U.S. as young children from deportation. The program also provides work visas and access to other government benefits such as a social security number and access to medicare.
The ruling, a 5-4 decision, determined that the Trump Administration did not properly pursue an end to the program, and didn’t rule out that the Administration couldn’t try again.
“The dispute before the Court is not whether [the Department of Homeland Security] may rescind DACA. All parties agree that it may,” wrote Chief Justice Roberts in an opinion. “The dispute is instead primarily about the procedure the agency followed in doing so.”
DACA began almost exactly eight years ago with the Obama Administration, promising protection from deportation for two years, with the option to renew at the end of that two-year period, to thousands of undocumented young people who arrived in the U.S. as children, also known as Dreamers. In 2014, the program was expanded, protecting DACA recipients for three years with the option to renew. In 2017, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), under a new Administration, made an attempt to end the program, which was immediately met with lawsuits and has been in legal limbo since then.
Many DACA recipients on social media are calling the ruling a “sigh of relief,” but acknowledge that the ruling only provides temporary protection from deportation. “DACA is safe from Trump for now, but the fight continues,” wrote Antonio Arellano, interim executive director of Jolt Action, a Latino civic engagement organization in Texas. “We renew our call to Congress: You must find the courage to provide a permanent solution to our nation’s broken immigration system. Create a citizenship pathway for all undocumented immigrants.”
“DACA recipients deserve closure and finality surrounding their status here in the U.S. Unfortunately, today’s Supreme Court decision fails to provide that certainty. The DACA program was created out of thin air and implemented illegally,” said DHS acting secretary Chad Wolf, in a public statement. “The American people deserve to have the nation’s laws faithfully executed as written by their representatives in Congress—not based on the arbitrary decisions of a past Administration. This ruling usurps the clear authority of the Executive Branch to end unlawful programs.”
President Donald Trump shared several tweets shortly after the ruling was announced, saying: “Do you get the impression that the Supreme Court doesn’t like me?” and called the ruling a politically charged decision. Earlier this week the Supreme Court ruled that gay and transgender people were protected by law from workplace discrimination and termination.
Former President Obama also took to Twitter to congratulate DACA recipients.