Monday 26-February-2018 was certainly a good one for DACA “Dreamers” as the news spread that the Supreme Court has declined the unusual Trump’s administration request for a shutdown of DACA – a program that shields an estimated 700,000 young undocumented immigrants from deportation.
This is certainly good news for this group of immigrants popularly referred to as “DACA Dreamers”. It means they can still avoid deportation. However, they will still remain in a legal limbo for an unknown number of months, until at least the Congress makes their status a permanent one.
DACA, which stands for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival is a program that allows certain undocumented immigrants to remain in the United States. Most people under this program came to the United States as minors. The program was formed in 2012 through the executive action of the then United States President, Barack Obama to protect minors from immediate deportation. Note that the program did not provide a “legal status” to the recipients. Instead, it allows them to ask for deferred action for a period of two years which was subject to renewal.
Recently, President Trump is seeking to phase out DACA for current recipients. However, a lower court order mandated the administration to keep on accepting renewal application for people already in the DACA program. On Monday, the Supreme Court rejected an appeal made by Trump’s administration.
The Supreme Court’s decision did not come as a surprise though since no appeal court has ruled on the issue. However, no reason was given for the decision. However, this decision will temporarily shield people under this program and will allow them to continue demanding for renewal and also work legally in the United States. Their status is renewable every two years.
The Monday’s non-ruling by the highest court in America means the saga could go on for a year or more. Nevertheless, the decision will relieve the immediate political pressure on lawmakers to address the status of these immigrants permanently. It could also pose a setback for over a million “Dreamers” who never had an opportunity to sign up for DACA. These people could still be deported if they are discovered by immigration agents.
Trump’s administration has remained headstrong that President Barack Obama exceeded his executive powers under the Constitution by bypassing the Congress to create DACA. The administration decision to deport these immigrants is inline with Trump’s campaign promise to deport DACA recipients and other people he considered “illegal aliens leeching off the system”
Responding on the reason why the administration went all the way up before allowing lower appeal court to hear the case, Trump said “‘We tried to get it moved quickly, because we’d like to help DACA. I think everybody in this room wants to help with DACA but the Supreme Court just ruled it has to go through the normal channels. So it’s going back in, and there won’t be any surprise.’
It should, however, be noted that the administration is no longer accepting new DACA applications. Currently, an estimated 700,000 young adults are being shielded by the program but there are still about 1.8 million people who are eligible for the program but have not been registered yet.
Until the due process is followed or Congress reaches a decision, it will continue to be a long wait for the recipients. As of now, no one knows their fate. Fortunately, with Supreme Court latest decision, they will continue to stay and work legally in the United States and will still be able to renew their status every two years.