Court grants reprieve for ‘Dreamers,’ White House to refile to end program

By Brian Williams
July 6, 2020

The U.S. Supreme Court issued a ruling June 18 rejecting on procedural grounds the way the administration of President Donald Trump reached its decision to dismantle the “Dreamers” program. This Barack Obama-era program protects from deportation some 700,000 undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children.

There have been widespread protests against ending the program.

The reprieve won by DACA participants is a gain for the working class as a whole, but the program’s future is far from settled.

The 5-4 ruling sent the issue back to the Department of Homeland Security “so that it may consider the problem anew.” The next day President Trump said his administration will be submitting “enhanced papers shortly” seeking to speed up further court deliberation on the president’s right to end the program.

Know as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, the program was created by Obama in 2012 by executive order. It provides temporary legal status for those who arrived in the U.S. before they were 16 and prior to June 2007, and had completed high school or were still studying or were military veterans. Individuals must renew their permit every two years.

Trump announced plans in 2017 to end the program, arguing that continuing it or not should be in the hands of Congress. Since then lower court rulings have blocked attempts to cancel DACA.

The Supreme Court majority opinion was written by Chief Justice John Roberts, who was joined by the court’s four self-proclaimed liberal members — Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan.

The administration also failed to consider how ending DACA would affect those who rely on its protections against deportation as well as their right to work and receive benefits, Roberts said.

“We do not decide whether DACA or its rescission are sound policies,” Roberts wrote. “We address only whether the agency [Department of Homeland Security] complied with the procedural requirement that it provide a reasoned explanation for its action. Here the agency failed to consider the conspicuous issues of … what if anything to do about the hardship to DACA recipients.”

The high court held that the Trump administration’s attempt to revoke the “Dreamers” program also violated the equal protection guarantee of the Fifth Amendment, which says no one shall be “deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law.”

“The dispute before the Court is not whether DHS may rescind DACA,” wrote Roberts. “All parties agree that it may. The dispute is instead primarily about the procedure the agency followed in doing so.”

More than 90% of DACA recipients are employed and 45% are in school, the government says. Nearly 30,000 work in health care. Families of DACA recipients now include some 200,000 U.S.-citizen children.

“The fight of the ‘Dreamers’ to be able to remain in the U.S. is important,” Socialist Workers Party presidential candidate Alyson Kennedy told the Militant  June 22. “The fight to win amnesty for all 11 million undocumented workers in the U.S. is an issue of vital importance to the working class.

“This is a life-and-death question to unite the working class and to cut across divisions the bosses use to drive down wages and working conditions for all workers,” Kennedy said.