Supreme Court stops Trump from shutting down DACA — for now

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The U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Thursday that the Trump administration could not hastily shutdown Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA,, an Obama-era program that protects some 700,000 U.S. residents brought to the country as children from deportation. 

President Trump attempted to end the program in the first year of his presidency, but multiple federal courts blocked him, arguing that the move was done so unlawfully and with little forethought. 

Today’s 5-4 ruling more or less upheld those arguments, with the supporting judges arguing that the manner in which the Department of Homeland Security attempted to end DACA was done with little consideration of the legal or economic consequences, and with improper or inadequate justification. 

“We do not decide whether DACA or its rescission are sound policies,” the opinion of the judges read. “ … 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. That dual failure raises doubts about whether the agency appreciated the scope of its discretion or exercised that discretion in a reasonable manner. The appropriate recourse is therefore to remand to DHS so that it may consider the problem anew.”

With only a few months remaining until the November elections, it’s unlikely Trump or his congressional allies will attempt another attack on DACA, a program that an overwhelming majority of Americans support, including Texans. It’s also unclear if the Trump administration would be able to spin a justification in time for ending DACA that pleases conservative judges before the presidential election. 

Texas is home to more than 124,000 DACA recipients, known as Dreamers. 

Rep. Sylvia Garcia, an El Paso congresswoman and advocate for Dreamers since entering Congress, released a statement praising the court’s decision and attacking the president for his history of demonizing immigrants. 

“Our DREAMers are American in every sense, except on paper,” Garcia said, urging action on the American Dream and Promise Act, a 2019 House-passed bill that would protect Dreamers from deportation and offer them a pathway to citizenship.

The bill is co-sponsored by all of Texas’ Democratic congressional delegation. It is currently being stalled by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who said last year he would “probably not” bring up the bill for a vote in the Senate.

“In the middle of this pandemic, many of them have been on the frontlines working to beat COVID-19 because this is the only country they know and their home is here,” Garcia said of DACA recipients. “DREAMers only want an opportunity to achieve the American Dream, and this decision gives them an opportunity to do just that.”

Photo: SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images

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