The Supreme Court on Thursday, June 18, rejected President Donald Trump's effort to end legal protections for 650,000 young immigrants, a stunning rebuke to the president in the midst of his reelection campaign.
For now, those immigrants retain their protection from deportation and their authorization to work in the United States.
The justices rejected administration arguments that the 8-year-old Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program is illegal and that courts have no role to play in reviewing the decision to end DACA.
Chief Justice John Roberts, joined by his four liberal colleagues, wrote for the court that the administration did not pursue the end of the program properly.
“We’re happy for those that are recipients for DACA and that this is going to continue to support them and be able to have them stay in this country and contribute to the state and the nation,” said Vanesa Sarazua, the executive director of Hispanic Alliance-GA
Sarazua said there are an estimated 21,000 people protected by DACA in Georgia, often known as Dreamers.
“We’ve done renewals for DACA locally at a lower cost with our immigration lawyer that works with us. What we’ve had as far as questions go today is what this ruling means for those that didn’t get a chance to apply for this program,” she sid.
By ruling that President Obama can usurp the legislative branch’s authority to unilaterally create law but President Trump can’t undo his unconstitutional actions, the Court is setting a dangerous precedent and a double standard that should concern every American. President Obama said himself that his decision to disregard the law and circumvent the legislative process went far beyond his constitutional power, and it’s disturbing that the Supreme Court chose to uphold his unlawful move. Let me remind the Supreme Court: it is ultimately the role of Congress – and Congress alone – to pass much-needed immigration reform. After its second power grab this week, it’s clear that Congress needs to step up and take back its constitutionally granted authority to do its job.U.S. Rep. Doug Collins
Rep. Doug Collins, R-Gainesville, said in a statement he felt the court was setting a “dangerous precedent and a double standard that should concern every American.”
“President Obama said himself that his decision to disregard the law and circumvent the legislative process went far beyond his constitutional power, and it’s disturbing that the Supreme Court chose to uphold his unlawful move,” Collins said in a statement. “Let me remind the Supreme Court: it is ultimately the role of Congress – and Congress alone – to pass much-needed immigration reform. After its second power grab this week, it’s clear that Congress needs to step up and take back its constitutionally granted authority to do its job.”
Chief Justice John Roberts, joined by four liberal colleagues, wrote for the court that the administration did not pursue the end of the program properly.
"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."
The Department of Homeland Security can try again, he wrote.
The court's four conservative justices dissented. Justice Clarence Thomas, in a dissent joined by Justices Samuel Alito and Neil Gorsuch, wrote that DACA was illegal from the moment it was created under the Obama administration in 2012.
Justice Brett Kavanaugh wrote in a separate dissent that he was satisfied that the administration acted appropriately in trying to end the program.
DACA covers people who have been in the United States since they were children and are in the country illegally. In some cases, they have no memory of any home other than the U.S.
This is a temporary fix for now and we must double down our efforts to work for a permanent solution by urging our Congress to provide that fix for not only the DREAMers, but also for the many immigrant families in limbo. Many immigrant workers are considered 'essential workers' during the pandemic and we must ensure they are able to stay here as well. As we reimagine the kind of America we want to become, and as we fight to make our country stronger and more just, we should look to DREAMers and work with them on realizing our shared future.Jerry Gonzalez, executive director of Georgia Association of Latino Elected Officials
The program grew out of an impasse over a comprehensive immigration bill between Congress and the Obama administration in 2012. President Barack Obama decided to formally protect people from deportation while also allowing them to work legally in the U.S.
But Trump made tough talk on immigration a central part of his campaign and less than eight months after taking office, he announced in September 2017 that he would end DACA.
Immigrants, civil rights groups, universities and Democratic-led states quickly sued, and courts put the administration's plan on hold.
The Department of Homeland Security has continued to process two-year DACA renewals so that hundreds of thousands of DACA recipients have protections stretching beyond the election and even into 2022.
The Supreme Court fight over DACA played out in a kind of legal slow motion. The administration first wanted the justices to hear and decide the case by June 2018. The justices said no. The Justice Department returned to the court later in 2018, but the justices did nothing for more than seven months before agreeing a year ago to hear arguments. Those took place in November and more than seven months elapsed before the court's decision.
Reporter Nick Watson contributed to this report.