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Supreme Court to Decide the Future of DACA

Thousands gathered at the Supreme Court and the Capitol building on Tuesday to protest the Trump Administration’s attempt to end DACA. Photo by Berto Sanchez

By Osaro Grayson, Staff Reporter

Thousands of people from around the country, including many immigrants, gathered at the Supreme Court and the Capitol building on Tuesday to protest the Trump Administration’s attempt to end DACA.

The United States Supreme Court heard oral arguments on Tuesday, Nov. 12, regarding whether or not President Trump has federal approval to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. 

A lawsuit filed by the University of California system and its president, Janet Napolitano, alleges that the Trump Administration’s attempt to rescind DACA is unlawful. Napolitano has served as the Attorney General of Arizona, the Governor of Arizona and the U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security under President Barack Obama. She was instrumental in DACA’s establishment in 2012.

DACA’s policy allows some of those who had been unlawfully brought into the United States as children to receive a renewable two-year period of deferred action from deportation and become eligible for a work permit. 

In September 2017, Trump announced that he would shut down the program, arguing that it was unconstitutional for President Barack Obama to create and therefore unconstitutional for him to maintain.

In 2017, just after the announcement of DACA’s termination, the University of California announced that it was suing the Department of Homeland Security for the “unconstitutional, unjust, and unlawful” rescission of the program.

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In January 2018, U.S. District Judge William Alsup ordered the government to maintain the DACA program throughout the duration of the lawsuit. After the government appealed this decision in May 2018, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit upheld the District Court’s ruling, blocking the Trump Administration from ending DACA.

On Tuesday, Nov. 12, prior to the Court hearing, President Trump sent out a tweet aimed at attacking the character of the approximately 700,000 “DREAMers” across the United States, saying some of them are “very tough, hardened criminals.”

In actuality, DACA recipients go through a lengthy application process with very strict requirements. This largely false assertion is likely an attempt at tapping into the fears of potential voters. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) blasted Trump’s “relentless scapegoating of immigrants” as “the most un-American thing [he] could think of”. 

While some of the justices are concerned with the Trump Administration’s rationale for ending the program, The New York Times, as well as NBC News and other major news outlets have reported that the Court’s conservative majority appears likely to allow the president to terminate the program.

Congressional Democrats, led by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), held a press conference on Tuesday afternoon, attempting to appeal to the morality of the Supreme Court justices and the American people. 

“Here we are on this day that should be a very hopeful one for our country. The Supreme Court will make a decision to either cause pain or find a solution by upholding what we think is the right thing to do,” said Speaker Pelosi.  

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It is unclear what effect, if any, this will have on the Court’s decision, which is due in the spring of 2020.

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