Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) may or may not continue depending on the results of the hearing before the Supreme Court tomorrow. Two aspects will be challenged: whether it was legally enacted by President Obama’s executive order and whether Trump can end the program.
DACA was created by the Obama administration in 2012, granting immigrants 31 years old and younger (in 2012) who came to the U.S. as children, a lifeline to avoid deportation and get work permits renewable every two years.
In 2012, Pew Research Center estimated that up to 1.7 million undocumented immigrants could benefit from DACA. As of June, the latest federal data show that there are 660,880 DACA recipients across the country mainly in Los Angeles, New York, and Dallas. The Dallas Morning News reports that since the program launched, roughly 800,000 undocumented immigrants have benefited from DACA.
“I have definitely seen my life before DACA and I can tell you it wasn’t what it is now,” Avalos, a DACA beneficiary told the publication. The Trump administration attempted to repeal DACA in September 2017 and the Supreme Court will judge if the move is reviewable by the court? And if so, did the administration violate the Administrative Procedure Act by ending DACA in a manner that was “arbitrary and capricious”?
Since January 2018, federal courts have allowed DACA to continue and lower federal courts have ruled that the Trump administration violated the APA since it didn’t explain why DACA is a bad policy. The APA governs the way federal agencies develop and implement policies and makes some of those decisions reviewable by the courts.
Though it’s being reviewed by the Supreme Court, there is no doubt that just like Obama used executive power to enact it, Trump can use the same power to end it. The reason the case is before the Supreme Court is precisely because lower court state he acted improperly by failing to properly explain and justify why he chose to end the program.
Vox reports that the case can end one of three ways: the Supreme Court could side with the lower courts (though they report this is unlikely because of the Republican majority), they could say the memos the Trump administration provided are sufficient to end the program, or it could rule DACA is an unlawful program. If it’s ruled that DACA is unlawful, no president can revive it, unlike if the court rules that Trump can end it since a future president could reinstate the program.
For DREAMers, the Supreme Court ruling will determine if they’ll continue to reap the benefits of DACA (at least until Trump’s next move) or if their lives are irrevocably changed, potentially forever.