Yesterday DACA supporters and DREAMers took to the streets as the Supreme Court justices heard oral arguments on whether or not DACA is a legal program and if Trump can officially end it. While the four liberal judges, including Justice Sonia Sotomayor, are critical of Trump’s approach, Justice John Roberts and the four other conservatives are leaning toward ending the program.
Today, as #SCOTUS heard oral arguments on the Trump administration’s decision to end the #DACA program, thousands of immigrant youth, families & allies rallied outside the Supreme Court & in other cities to declare “my #HomeIsHere and I’m #HereToStay.” https://t.co/2GzVQ1wJyq pic.twitter.com/YDWEk5jhfd
— United We Dream Action (@UWDAction) November 12, 2019
As the judges reviewed the case, Roberts noted that the U.S. Court of Appeals 5th Circuit and later the Supreme Court, blocked DAPA (Deferred Action for Parents of Americans), Obama’s immigration order to help some 4 million undocumented parents of citizens. Roberts seemed to indicate he’s leaning toward ending DACA just as DAPA was blocked.
“Do you need more than that?” Roberts asked, according to the Los Angeles Times. “Can’t he just say that’s the basis on which I’m making this decision?”
As the justices discuss the legalities of the program, they are also looking into whether Trump can end the program. Several federal judges in California, New York, and Washington, D.C. have failed to support him since he couldn’t provide a reason to end it.
According to the LA Times, justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen G. Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan seemingly supported those rulings saying Elaine Duke, an acting Secretary of Homeland Security, wrote a repeal memo suggesting DACA was illegal, per then U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions. “We don’t know how she would respond if there were a clear recognition that there was nothing illegal about DACA,” Ginsburg said.
Trump naturally took to Twitter writing, “Many of the people in DACA, no longer very young, are far from ‘angels.’ Some are very tough, hardened criminals.” Fact-checkers immediately came for him by pointing out how in order to maintain and renew immigration status under DACA, they can’t have a felony conviction, or be convicted of a significant misdemeanor offense, or pose a threat to national security or public safety.
Outside the Supreme Court, dozens of DACA recipients chanted “Undocumented and unafraid” and massive school walkouts happened in New York and California, two cities home to a majority of DACA recipients. Make the Road New York, a community and legal services organization, has organized an 18-day march from New York City to Washington D.C. with more than 200 DACA recipients. The Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights (CHIRLA), organized the Nov. 12 walkouts in L.A. which drew dozens of students to march toward the Federal Building in downtown.
#BREAKING DACA recipients come out of the Supreme Court chanting loud & clear: #HomeIsHere pic.twitter.com/KAFeDmkgjT
— Make the Road NY 🦋 (@MaketheRoadNY) November 12, 2019
“This is about a choice to destroy lives,” Sotomayor said, knowing about 800,000 immigrants will be affected by this decision. According to a July 2018 report from USCIS, more than 200,000 DACA recipients live in California — the most of any state — followed by Texas with more than 115,000.
“[My sister] relies heavily on this... If this is taken away, a lot of people will be left without jobs,” Genoveva Alarcon told KTLA during the L.A. walkout. “This means they might not be able to provide for their family.”
“DACA is everything. It saved my children’s lives,” Alejandra Fernández told MSN of her kids who were all born in Argentina, as she joined Moms for DACA’s demonstration on the steps of the Supreme Court. “Without DACA, they wouldn’t have been able to even get a driver’s license.”
A decision on this case is expected to come in early 2020 but could come at the end of the court’s term in June 2020.