DACA under Supreme Court review
US IMMIGRATION NOTES - Atty. Marco F.G. Tomakin (The Freeman) - November 17, 2019 - 12:00am

This week, the US Supreme Court heard oral arguments on one of the most controversial and highly-watched immigration cases during the Trump presidency. DACA or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, which was a program during the Obama administration, seeks to grant temporary protection from deportation to roughly 700,000 young people, commonly known as DREAMers. Implemented in 2012, this specific group of immigrants were given work permits and allowed to attend school if they meet certain requirements and passed a background check. Because Congress cannot and will not seem to pass a comprehensive immigration reform, DACA was conceived through a presidential executive order.

Mr. Trump, early on in his administration, abruptly stopped the program, saying that it is illegal and unconstitutional. Since then, lawsuits have been filed in the lower and appellate courts which with sided the pro-DACA position. Which brings us to the Supreme Court.

Now remember that the present makeup of the US Supreme Court favors the conservatives 5-4 with two newer members appointed by Mr. Trump. And if early media reports are to be believed, questions by the conservative justices during the hearing tend to tilt in favor of the administration’s position. This brings such justified agitation on the Dreamers as they do not even know what their future would be if the DACA program is discontinued. Their fear of being deported grows more real by the day as their names are already out there for the government to review.

There is no telling how the Supreme Court will ultimately decide on this case. If it decides in favor of the Dreamers, then well and good for them. But if it decides the other way, that would be such a chaotic scenario and a public relations nightmare for the administration if ICE agents would be seen handcuffing young people and putting them on buses and planes as they are sent back to their home countries.

It is not the Supreme Court’s concern what the consequences are if it decides to side with Mr. Trump. So as early as now, Congress should come up with a law that addresses Dreamers in order to prevent any disruption in their lives in the event that the Supreme Court strikes down this program. There is no risk, harm, or any danger of reprisal by the American voters as the general public is very supportive in giving some form of legalized status for these Dreamers. And it has bipartisan support with both parties willing to come to the negotiating table on how to solve this problem. Even Mr. Trump signaled his sympathy and support to the Dreamers if only Congress can pass a law for him to sign, and not through an executive order. In an election year, that should not be hard to do for Congress.

Let us wait and see how this issue unfolds in the months to come.


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