Monday is another potential Supreme Court decision day that could decide the future of the DACA program for Dreamers. DACA has been life-changing for more than 800,000 people who arrived in the U.S. as children, have grown up as Americans, and are strengthening their communities and workplaces across the country – including more than 200,000 DACA recipients who are working in designated essential “frontline” occupations during the pandemic.
The program is both wildly successful and overwhelmingly popular – for example, recent Hart Research/CAP Action polling finds that Americans support DACA by an overwhelming 70-21% margin – including 82% of Democrats, 60% of Independents, and 61% of Republicans. Nonetheless, the Trump Administration, with the willing complicity of Republicans in Congress, is seeking to end DACA and subject Dreamers to deportation. The Supreme Court, and potential swing vote Chief Justice John Roberts in particular, should recognize that issuing a negative ruling on DACA at this moment is the last thing our divided and grieving nation in crisis needs right now.
Last week, Chief Justice Roberts appeared to acknowledge the current moment when he sided with the state of California and the Court’s liberal bloc in a case around COVID-19 restrictions for churches. The majority opinion from the 9th circuit court of appeals, whose ruling the Supreme Court upheld, quoted from the famous 1947 Supreme Court dissent of Justice Robert Jackson: if a “Court does not temper its doctrinaire logic with a little practical wisdom, it will convert the constitutional Bill of Rights into a suicide pact.”
According to Pili Tobar, Deputy Director of America’s Voice:
“There is no wishful thinking or denying what would happen to Dreamers if the Court sides with Trump on his decision to end DACA. The Trump administration is clear that DACA recipients will be deported. Our nation cannot afford to add more fuel to the dumpster fire right now in the form of a negative Supreme Court ruling on DACA. Amidst the pandemic, the economic collapse, the murder of black people, and painful reminders of the depths of our continued structural racism and police violence, the nation cries out for unity and justice. Since that’s not coming from the White House, the Supreme Court should weigh the ‘practical wisdom’ we so desperately need and refrain from taking another step to further destabilize and divide a grieving nation.”
Just this week, we have seen a host of reminders of why the fate of Dreamers should not be entrusted to the Trump administration and Republicans:
- House Democrats marked the one year anniversary of the passage of the “Dream and Promise Act” – legislation, which the GOP Senate refused to bring up for a vote, that would recognize Dreamers and TPS holders for the Americans they already are (read an op-ed in The Hill from Reps. Roybal-Allard, Velázquez, and Clarke).
- BuzzFeed reports on unearthed emails that demonstrate that the Trump Administration denied housing loans to DACA recipients despite the Administration’s earlier denials that they were doing so – part of their ongoing, avowed hostility to Dreamers.
- Another Trump Administration senior official voiced support for the deportation of DACA recipients with final orders of removal – again contradicting Chief Justice John Roberts, who during last November’s oral arguments expressed disbelief that ending DACA would lead to additional deportations.
- Nearly 6,000 DACA recipients would begin losing their status each week if the Supreme Court rules in Trump’s favor and allows him to prevent renewals.