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What Should Be Next for DACA and Dreamers After the Supreme Court Delivers a Loss to Trump?

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Trump, Wolf Set on Trying Again to Deport Dreamers


Stunned by their loss at the Supreme Court on DACA, President Trump and his administration are predictably relying on falsehoods and blame-shifting excuses. President Trump said at his infamous Tulsa rally, “People don’t understand but we actually won on DACA yesterday.” Acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf was sent out to claim on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” that DACA was “unlawful” and the President is “begging” Congress for a solution, neither of which is true. Over the weekend, the administration made noises about ending DACA again, but it’s not clear if that’s more bluster or something they will actually do.

But instead of focusing on what this failing administration might do, let’s focus on what the next steps for DACA and Dreamers should be:

  • Stop attacking DACA and Dreamers: DACA has been a life-changing program that has strengthened America. It’s overwhelmingly supported by the American people, including the majority of Republicans (see a polling summary here and a fresh poll here). And despite Chad Wolf’s assertions, the Supreme Court majority opinion not only focused on the administration’s procedural violations, but also hinted at the high bar of “reliance interests” that the Trump administration would need to clear in the case if they re-filed (read more on the final point in the Linda Greenhouse’s New York Times column highlighting the reasoning of Chief Justice Roberts).
  • Continue to accept DACA renewals from existing DACA recipients: It’s time we injected more certainty into the lives of all DACA recipients. The current DACA workforce includes 200,000 individuals in “essential worker” jobs during the pandemic, including nearly 30,000 who are working as nurses, doctors, EMTs, and frontline health care jobs.  Read this USA Today op-ed from America’s Voice campaign manager Mario Carrillo and his wife Angie Rodriguez for one mixed status family’s story – just one among tens of thousands. 
  • Open up DACA to new applicants, such as younger Dreamers and previously eligible Dreamers who have been wary of Trump’s DHS: The Migration Policy Institute (MPI) estimates that there are 66,000 immediately eligible younger Dreamers who have been ineligible to apply to DACA since Trump’s Fall 2017 announcement (read more from Julia Preston of The Marshall Project on the plight of this younger Dreamer contingent). But there also exists a broader group of older, DACA eligible Dreamers who may never have applied to DACA due to wariness over Trump’s DHS having their information. In light of the Supreme Court ruling, these populations should be eligible to apply for DACA as soon as possible, and aggressive public education and outreach should be conducted to encourage them to come forward. 
  • Without question, a permanent legislative solution for Dreamers and TPS holders is needed, and that solution has passed the House and is awaiting a vote in the Senate: Legislation to provide a permanent solution for Dreamers is on the table and awaiting Senate action in the form of HR6 – “The American Dream and Promise Act,” which passed the House more than one year ago. For the contingent of vulnerable 2020 Senate Republicans who expressed immediate support for a legislative fix, please turn your attention to the bill pending in the Senate and awaiting action.

Note: Led by Senator Dick Durbin, 43 Senate Democrats sent a letter to President Trump that lays out what is needed now.

According to Douglas Rivlin, Director of Communication for America’s Voice:

Now that the Supreme Court has ruled against Trump, there can be no excuse for spinning the outcome or delaying the next steps. Let’s get DACA eligible individuals signed up, in the system and working with authorization. More importantly in this election year, Trump has lost decisively in the court of public opinion with overwhelming support for Dreamers, DACA and legalization firmly established among voters of all political persuasions. Trump will continue to be caught between his base of hardliners who demand deportation for Dreamers and the vast majority of Americans who want to welcome them and create a path to citizenship. We know from bitter experience that Trump will likely side with his base. But that will weigh like an anvil around the necks of any Republicans seeking election this year.