Today, the Supreme Court ruled against President Donald Trump to protect DACA, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, which President Obama created in 2012 through Executive Action. Obama created it after big backlash from the Latino community for not doing enough to protect immigrants who are the economic backbone of our country. At the time, Latino leaders began calling him the Deporter in Chief for deporting almost 3 million individuals and for not doing enough to protect Latinos in our country, since millions of US born children were devastated when their parents were deported during the Obama administration.
Since getting elected, Trump has continued to scapegoat Latino immigrants and US-born Latinos alike. He has specifically targeted Latinos and attacked DACA recipients publicly. In a stunning decision, the Supreme Court has ruled against Trump and has protected the Obama-era DACA program.
The DACA ruling protects hundreds of thousands of young immigrants who have been protected from deportation and allowed to receive work permits under DACA. In September 2017, when Trump called to end the program, there were about 700,000 DACA recipients. Estimates are that there are now about 650,000 young people in this category. In April of this year, defenders of DACA submitted additional information that there are about 29,000 DACA recipients fighting on the frontlines against COVID-19, an important statistic that everyone should know. We also know that while the majority of DACA recipients are Latino, about 120,000 are Asian and about 11,000 are from countries with Black majorities. We don’t have a specific number of Afro-Latino numbers of DACA recipients, however.
To be clear, this protects DACA recipients. But, we still must pass the Dream Act for a pathway toward citizenship and push for Comprehensive Immigration Reform to protect undocumented immigrants and our economy.
Why this is huge
1) This is huge because many advocates were nervous that since the majority of the justices are conservatives and some were appointed by Trump, they would side with him. Fortunately, one of them didn’t stand with Trump. The opinion was authored by Chief Justice John Roberts, who is a conservative appointed by President George W. Bush, and joined by the court’s four liberals, Justice Sonia Sotomayor appointed by President Obama, Justice Ruth Ginsberg appointed by President Clinton, Justice Elena Kagan appointed by President Obama and Justice Stephen Breyer appointed by President Clinton. Most of the Republican appointees disagreed with the ruling. Chief Justice Roberts said that the Trump administration’s decision to end the program was “arbitrary and capricious,” aka que era un “capricho,” which violates federal law responsible for administrative procedures.
2) It means that DACA recipients can continue to work legally.
For those who have DACA, they can continue to work legally because of their DACA permissions. DACA recipients should continue to apply for their renewals. We know that many are already receiving their renewals until 2022. So, please make sure to tell your DACA loved ones to apply for reauthorization or renewals NO MATTER WHAT.
3) It protects DACA recipients from being deported.
This ruling protects them from deportation FOR SURE. Even though the Trump administration said that they would not target DACA recipients, they admitted that there was no guarantee when Senator Durbin asked them directly during a hearing last year. It made all DACA recipients nervous because since the government has their personal information, including their home addresses and place of employment, they feared that ICE could use that information to target them.
There’s more we don’t know yet.
There are many questions that are still being figured out and interpreted. Because it was just published, the Abogados and Abogadas have to study the ruling to interpret it. We won’t know about what the process will look like for new applicants. Many would-be DACA applicants have not been able to apply since September 2017. We don’t know if or when DACA recipients will be able to travel again, and many other questions. But for now, you can read over the Supreme Court’s ruling here.
There’s more to do:
We must continue to push for the Dream Act which would help people with a path toward citizenship and comprehensive Immigration Reform which would create a system to protect immigrants and our economy.
For now, we celebrate this amazing victory in the Courts! Why? #HomeIsHere.
Alma V. Marquez
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