Supreme Court Rules Trump Can't End DACA

by Julie Scagell
Demonstrators gather in front of the United States Supreme Court, where the Court is hearing argumen...
The Washington Post/Getty

The 5-4 decision to uphold DACA was announced today

In another landmark decision, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled today that the Trump administration cannot end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) or “Dreamers” program.

The program, which has allowed nearly 800,000 young people to remain in the U.S. and not risk deportation, was one Trump vowed to end as president because, although Dreamers were minors when they came to the U.S., their parents brought them here illegally. Under DACA, children were allowed to remain here if they were under 16 when their parents brought them to the U.S. and if they arrived by 2007.

Chief Justice John Roberts argued in the majority opinion of the 5-4 decision that the Department of Homeland Security had violated the Administrative Procedure Act and that the ruling said the government didn’t give an adequate justification for ending the federal program.

“We address only whether the agency complied with the procedural requirement that it provide a reasoned explanation for its action,” Roberts wrote. “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.”

According to NBC, immigration lawyers argued in the fall that frontline health care workers who are fighting the coronavirus pandemic rely on about 27,000 DACA recipients, “including dentists, pharmacists, physician assistants, home health aides, technicians” and nearly 200 medical students. “Termination of DACA during this national health emergency would be catastrophic,” they said in a court filing in April.

Figures show that over 90 percent of DACA recipients have a job and that nearly half are in school. Many of the recipients have not been back to their birth country since leaving when they were infants or small kids and don’t even speak the language of those countries. There were about 700,000 DACA recipients at the time President Trump ordered the program be disbanded in September 2017.

In a dissent joined by fellow conservatives Justices Samuel Alito and Neil Gorsuch, Justice Clarence Thomas wrote that the majority decision “must be recognized for what it is: an effort to avoid a politically controversial but legally correct decision.”

Trump has been under fire from DACA supporters for not providing a detailed explanation before trying to shut the program down Instead, they simply said the program was illegal — a move now at the center of it being upheld.