The Supreme Court issued a ruling Thursday morning blocking the cancelation of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, commonly known as DACA, from being canceled by President Donald Trump. The decision allows undocumented immigrants brought into the United States as children a chance to work and stay here legally.
The majority opinion came from Chief Justice John Roberts and the four liberal justices that make up the bench. Conservative justices Brett Kavanaugh, Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito Jr., and Neil Gorsuch dissented.
Since the program was enacted under President Barack Obama, it has benefited about 700,000 undocumented Americans. Trump, who vowed to end the program on the campaign trail, moved to dismantle the program in 2017. The decision would have allowed all current two-year stays of removal to expire and resulted in the deportation of hundreds of thousands of undocumented people.
The Supreme Court called the impetus to cancel the program “arbitrary and capricious,” and “motivated by animus in violation of the equal protection guarantee of the Fifth Amendment.”
The decision does not, however, rule on whether DACA can remain in place from a policy standpoint, but instead overturns Trump’s recession based on procedural grounds, which leaves it vulnerable to future attempts from the Trump administration to dismantle it.
Roberts wrote Trump’s rationale for canceling the program—that Obama never had the right to enact it—was insufficient.
“We do not decide whether DACA or its rescission are sound policies,” Roberts wrote. “We address only whether the agency complied with the procedural requirement that it provide a reasoned explanation for its action. Here the agency failed to consider the conspicuous issues of whether to retain forbearance and what if anything to do about the hardship to DACA recipients. That dual failure raises doubts about whether the agency appreciated the scope of its discretion or exercised that discretion in a reasonable manner.”
North Carolina is home to about 24,000 DACA recipients. One of them is Dariana Valencia, a student who had been starting to lose hope before learning of the ruling Thursday.
“I had to mentally prepare myself for a life outside of the United States once I graduated,” Valencia said in a press statement. “Today’s decision is so emotional because I don’t feel like my future has an expiration date anymore.”
Maria Mayorga, another North Carolinian protected from deportation under DACA, noted that people of color and immigrants are “impacted by the same overcriminalization and our struggles for freedom intersect.”
“We are not only calling for divestment from police but also a defunding of ICE and CBP, for a clean DREAM Act, and fair immigration reform,” Mayorga said.
Veronica Aguilar, a spokesperson for Raleigh immigrant outreach nonprofit El Pueblo, praised the decision while noting more work is ahead for ensuring DACA recipients are protected.
“This is a win for immigrant communities,” Aguilar told the INDY. “It means DACA is reinstated, however, this is only a temporary win and community members and allies [should] stay vigilant, continue organizing, and continue to take action.”
Read the full decision here:
This is a developing story.
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