Supreme Court extends life of DACA in 5-4 ruling

"We took our power to the streets, the hallways of Congress, to the highest court in the land and we won."


A ruling by the Supreme Court keeps the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program alive. In a narrow decision, more than 640,000 DREAMers will remain safe from deportation after the Trump administration tried to end the program, which began in 2012.

The Supreme Court ruled that the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) efforts to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, in 2017 “was arbitrary and capricious under the Administrative Procedure Act,” NPR reported.

“We conclude that the acting secretary did violate” the Administrative Procedure Act, and that the decision to rescind DACA “must be vacated,” Chief Justice John Roberts, who cast the decisive vote, wrote. “The appropriate recourse is therefore to remand to DHS so that it may reconsider the problem anew.”

In a 5-4 ruling, Chief Justice Roberts joined Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Elena Kagan, Stephen Breyer and Sonia Sotomayor.

“We do not decide whether DACA or its rescission are sound policies,” Roberts wrote in the majority opinion. “‘The wisdom’ of those decisions ‘is none of our concern.’ We address only whether the agency complied with the procedural requirement that it provide a reasoned explanation for its action.”

While the Supreme Court ruled that the government failed to give “adequate justification for ending the federal program,” the highest court’s decision left it open for the Trump administration to “try again” by providing additional information and strategy to end the program that could prove constitutional.

DACA protects immigrants brought to the U.S. illegally as children from deportation as long as they were under 16 years of age when their parents brought them into the country and they arrived before 2007. The program allows DREAMers to legally live and work in the U.S., but, otherwise, doesn’t provide a path to citizenship.

Currently, there are 643,000 participants in the program, according to court documents, but “more than 825,000 people have had DACA status since the program was created” by the Obama administration, NPR reported.

With more than 90 percent of DACA participants employed, DACA defenders including more than 100 business groups, fought to preserve the program because trying to shut it down would have affected hundreds of thousands of people and businesses.

Eliminating DACA “would deny our country talent, future leaders, and an essential piece of the American workforce including teachers, nurses, doctors, farmers, and entrepreneurs,” Thomas Donohue, CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, said.

“We took our power to the streets, the hallways of Congress, to the highest court in the land and we won,” Martín Batalla Vidal, a DACA recipient and activist who is a plaintiff in the case, said. “For almost three years we have been living with immense uncertainty, and today we are able to breathe a sigh of relief. Nonetheless, our fight does not end with the decision by the Supreme Court, our fight continues for permanent protection for DACA recipients and all undocumented people.”


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