After months of speculation, last week the Supreme Court agreed to review three cases challenging the Trump administration’s decision to end Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). The Court is expected to issue its decision by June 2020, coming in the midst of the presidential race. In the meantime, current DACA recipients remain eligible to submit their renewal applications.
Even if the Supreme Court rules against the Trump administration, a long-term solution for Dreamers would not be provided. It would only restore the situation to the status quo before the Trump administration ended DACA, leaving many young people with lapsed or no protections.
The cases reached the Supreme Court after the Department of Justice filed a special request for “certiorari before judgement,” which skips waiting on a federal appeals courts decision and requests to be heard by the Court. In total, four appeals courts have heard arguments on whether President Trump went through the proper procedure before ending DACA. Both the Ninth Circuit and the Fourth Circuit held that Trump’s decision to end DACA was improper. Decisions are still pending in the Second Circuit and D.C. Circuit.
Currently, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is required to continue accepting and processing DACA renewal applications. Those who are currently granted renewals will continue to receive protection from deportation and work permits, unless the Supreme Court issues a decision otherwise.
What does the Court’s future decision mean for DACA recipients? For most, continued and distressing uncertainty.
If the Court rules in the Trump administration’s favor, nearly 700,000 DACA recipients would be left without permits to work legally and will be at risk of deportation. As a result, DACA recipients are left to wonder what their status will be in the future.
DACA recipients are not the only ones that hope for an opportunity to stay in the country that they call home. In June, the House of Representatives took the opportunity to put forward definitive answers for the future of DACA by passing the American Dream and Promise Act. This bill provides a path to citizenship for DACA recipients, as well as those with Temporary Protected Status and protections under Deferred Enforced Departure.
The Supreme Court’s decision to take up the DACA cases emphasizes that Dreamers can no longer wait for more court decisions granting temporary relief of deportation. For them, hopes for a permanent solution currently lie in the hands of Congress. As polls show, the vast majority of Americans support Dreamers and want to give them an opportunity to continue to positively impact the country. That is why a long-term solution for Dreamers and others who live in insecurity is way past due.
Photo by Bill Oxford