The Supreme Court just ruled that the Trump Administration’s removal of DACA is unconstitutional, what does this mean for immigrants?
First, what is DACA and why is it important?
DACA is the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, and it was introduced in 2012 under Barack Obama to protect certain immigrants from being deported. It was specifically created to stop the deportation of kids known as ‘Dreamers’ who were brought into the United States of America when they were children. DACA is a two year protection measure and it can be renewed to stay in the US for a longer time. It does not provide citizenship.
DACA is important because it grants undocumented immigrants who were brought to the US by their parents opportunities to work legally in the states and be a part of the public education system.
After President Donal Trump ordered the end of DACA in 2017, immigrants have been living their lives in uncertainty not knowing when this program will end, taking with it their hard work in America. After the Trump administration tried to begin the process of ending DACA in 2017, they have not accepted any new applications for the program, only supporting current participants.
So, why did the Trump administration attempt to eliminate the DACA program?
In 2019, the Trump administration told the Supreme Court that the program should be ended because it’s unlawful, even though ex-President Barack Obama authorized it as an executive order in 2012. The hard-line views of nine conservative state attorneys threatening to sue the Trump administration for not addressing the issue also motivated Trump to eliminate the program.
Does DACA work?
While the Trump Administration believes that Obama superseded his authority to create the program, there are many benefits to DACA that prove its merit. Numerous studies, including one by renowned professor Dr. Robert Gonzales, show the positive effects of the DACA policy. Gonzales outlines in his research that DACA allowed for these now documented immigrants to have a greater job availability and more job security as well. They also have become more aware of their developing identity, as they are now able to do more than they could as undocumented immigrants, including living a ‘normal life’ in comparison to adolescent citizens.
Overall, regardless of its legal backing, the Trump administration has a general opposition to the program with an unreasonable bias for ending it. On June 19 2020, the plan to end the DACA program and make Dreamers immediately eligible for deportation went to the Supreme Court which effectively blocked it, putting an end to the fear undocumented immigrants have faced over the past few years. The ruling did not take into account the many benefits that DACA has offered immigrants and citizens alike, only ruling on the legality of the program.
Throughout his campaign, President Trump promised to end the DACA program multiple times and has been known to use anti-immigration rhetoric. Now with the 5-4 ruling in favor of keeping the programs, the Trump administration and its xenophobia have lost, hopefully for good.