DACA program

I know I said I will write on Fridays to wrap up the week, but today the Supreme Court issued the DACA decision (DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY ET AL. v. REGENTS OF THE UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA ET AL.). This decision is very good news for thousands of young individuals who were brought to the United States as youngsters and who registered for the DACA program/protections.

Since 2012, the DACA program has protected thousands of young people who are in the United States illegally from deportation. At the same time, DACA provided employment authorization that was sorely needed for these young individuals to come out of the shadows and find employment and get an education. Keep in mind, they are people who were brought to the U.S. as babies or even infants. They grew up in the U.S., sometimes not even knowing that they had no status until it was time to go to college or get a job. DACA gave them a solid way forward; a route for a better future.

According to CNN data, 650,000 individuals are currently protected. Nearly half live in California or Texas AND 29,000 are health care workers. The Trump Administration decided in 2017 to end the DACA program and open a path to deportation for thousands.

Today’s decision puts a hold on those plans. It is important to understand that the Supreme Court took a narrow approach and evaluated whether the government’s (specifically Department of Homeland Security) decision to rescind DACA was arbitrary and capricious. The case was sent back to DHS for further consideration. Specifically the Supreme Court said:

“We do not decide whether DACA or its rescission are sound policies. ‘The wisdom’ of those decisions ‘is none of our concern.’ Chenery II, 332 U. S., at 207. 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. The appropriate recourse is therefore to remand to DHS so that it may consider the problem anew.”

At this point, it appears that DACA will continue and renewals will be accepted. It is still unknown if new applications/registrations will be accepted. The other unknown is what will the administration do. They can follow the Court’s order and present an explanation for rescinding DACA that is not arbitrary or capricious or DHS can “let it go.” Only time will tell.

But for right now, almost 700,000 individuals are protected. The logical step is for Congress to step in and “do the right thing.” Congress has the authority to pass legislation and protect DACA recipients. No doubt, this will continue to be a BIG political point for both sides with President Trump promising to do all he can to terminate DACA and Vice-President Biden promising to fix the issue if elected.

It seems absurd to punish 700,000 young people for the actions of their parents. They had no control over what their parents did. They were brought to the U.S. as children and grew up in the U.S. They are now part of our community and deserve the right to continue the lives that they have built.