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Chief Justice Roberts, You were wrong. Trump Does Want to Deport DACA recipients

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“Roberts either has not been paying attention, or is choosing not to see what’s before his eyes”

Over the weekend,
CNN reported that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is gearing up to target DACA recipients for deportation:

ICE has begun asking immigration courts to reopen administratively closed deportation cases against DACA recipients who continue to have no criminal record, or only a minor record. Immigration attorneys in Arizona confirmed at least 14 such cases being reopened since October, and CNN also found DACA recipients whose cases recently were reopened in Nevada and Missouri.

And that is just the beginning. ICE confirmed to CNN that all DACA recipients whose deportation cases have been administratively closed can expect to see them reopened. In an email, the agency stated that “re-calendaring of administratively closed cases is occurring nationwide and not isolated to a particular state or region.”

For anyone paying attention, this move is consistent with the Trump administration’s deportation agenda. The President and his team have made it clear that no one is safe.

What’s particularly ominous about this development is that the Supreme Court’s Chief Justice seems to be in denial about the prospect that Dreamers with DACA will be deported by this administration if the Court rules in favor of the administration’s drive to end the program. During oral argument before the Court just last month, the Chief Justice intimated that ending DACA would not lead to additional deportations. During the questioning of Ted Olson, who is representing DACA recipients, Roberts, according to Slate, “tipped his hand:” 

When former Solicitor General Theodore Olson approached the lectern to defend DACA, he noted that the program allowed “hundreds of thousands of people” to remain in the U.S., “which has engendered reliance.” Roberts interrupted, looking slightly peeved. “But, Mr. Olson,” he said, “the whole thing was about work authorization and these other benefits. Both administrations have said they’re not going to deport the people. So the deferred prosecution or deferred deportation, that’s not what the focus of the policy was.”

Roberts seems to believe that the President – who ended DACA, is driving to overcome lower court objections that he ended it in violation of the law, and who is a serial liar – should be trusted when he makes public statements, such as:

They are here illegally. They shouldn’t be very worried. I do have a big heart. We’re going to take care of everybody…

Should we listen to what Trump says about having a “big heart” for immigrants? Or should we watch what his administration does?

The Acting Director of ICE, Matthew Albence, was interviewed by Reuters earlier this month:

During the interview on Monday, Albence also addressed the possibility that his agency soon might need to grapple with enforcement against immigrants brought to the country as children and offered deportation relief and work permits through the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. The Supreme Court is expected to rule next year over Trump’s attempt to phase out the program.

Albence said DACA enrollees ordered removed by an immigration judge “certainly” would be subject to deportation.

“They’re here illegally,” he said. “DACA isn’t a status.”

In September, Ken Cuccinelli, who is now the acting Deputy Director of DHS Ken asserted with confidence to the Washington Times that the Supreme Court would strike down DACA. The article noted Cuccinelli’s assertion that DACA recipients would then be subject to deportation,  

Mr. Cuccinelli said the Dreamers would then be considered eligible for deportation, though most would not be priority targets.

According to Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice:

At this moment, Chief Justice Roberts is the one person in America with the biggest say in the lives of hundreds of thousands of young people who are American in all but paperwork. And Roberts either has not been paying attention, or is choosing not to see what’s before his eyes.

Trump, with Stephen Miller at his side, has put xenophobia and deportation at the heart of this administration. The top ranks of the White House and the Department of Homeland Security are filled with anti-immigrant zealots, the policies and practices they devise and carry out are cruel, and their goal is to reshape America by keeping out and kicking out as many immigrants and refugees as possible. And now, according to CNN, DHS is gearing up to deport DACA recipients.

If Roberts and the conservatives on the Supreme Court acquiesce to Trump’s demand to end DACA, 700,000 immigrant youth will be added to the list of people Trump and Miller are deporting. As we have seen over the past three years, there is no bottom with this crowd. Cruelty is the point.

The backdrop to Robert’s naivete is equally disturbing. Trump and his team already see  the Supreme Court as part of his team. Over the weekend, writing about the upcoming cases on Trump’s financial records, Supreme Court expert Linda Greenhouse wrote this:

“With the court in the full glare of an election-year spotlight, we will learn beyond any doubt what kind of Supreme Court we have — and whether its evolution into partnership with a president who acts as if he owns it is now complete.” 

With the Court’s decision expected in the spring, the same is true for the DACA case.