The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Thursday that the Trump administration can’t immediately terminate the Obama-era Deferred Actions Against Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
In a 5-4 ruling, Chief Justice John Roberts sided with Democrats and held that President Donald Trump can’t continue with his plan to end DACA, which has shielded roughly 800,000 young immigrants from deportation.
The opinion was written by Roberts and joined by Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Elena Kagan, Stephen Breyer, and Sonia Sotomayor — the Court’s four liberal justices.
The ruling said the government failed to give an adequate justification for ending the federal program. The administration could try again to shut it down by offering a more detailed explanation for its action, but the White House might not want to end such a popular program in the heat of a presidential campaign.
Immigration lawyers told the Supreme Court after the case was argued last fall that frontline health care workers involved in responding to the coronavirus epidemic rely on about 27,000 DACA recipients, “including dentists, pharmacists, physician assistants, home health aides, technicians” and nearly 200 medical students.
“Termination of DACA during this national health emergency would be catastrophic,” they said in an April 2 court filing. The Association of American Medical Colleges told the court last fall — well before the pandemic crisis — that the U.S. is unprepared “to fill the loss that would result if DACA recipients were excluded from the health care workforce.”
NBC News continued:
The court said the Department of Homeland Security did not act properly when it ordered the program ended in 2017. In response to legal challenges, lower court rulings allowed DACA to keep going, letting young people in the program to reapply every two years and remain under its protection. Children of illegal immigrants were allowed to remain here if they were under 16 when their parents brought them to the U.S. and if they arrived by 2007.
DACA’s defenders had argued that federal law required the Trump administration to give a detailed explanation before trying to shut the program down — an action that would affect hundreds of thousands of people and the businesses that employ them. Instead, they said, the government simply declared the program illegal. More than 100 business groups, including Apple and Microsoft, sought to preserve DACA, arguing many of their employees are part of the program.
The Obama-era DACA program has shielded just shy of a million children that came to the United States with their parents, who also did not have the legal right to enter the country.