Supreme Court Rules to Preserve DACA Program

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled June 18, 2020 to keep the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program intact for the time being, protecting the thousands of young immigrants who have been allowed to live and work in the United States since the program was implemented by President Barack Obama in 2012 – read the Supreme Court’s Decision.

The Supreme Court ruled (5-4) that President Trump’s decision to rescind DACA was arbitrary and capricious under the Administrative Procedure Act, based on two grounds: 1) the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) failed to distinguish between the protections from deportation and the benefits of the DACA program, such as work authorization, and 2) DHS did not consider the consequences of rescinding DACA. The decision states:

“[S]ince 2012, DACA recipients have ‘enrolled in degree programs, embarked on careers, started businesses, purchased homes, and even married and had children, all in reliance’ on the DACA program. . . .The consequences of the rescission, respondents emphasize, would ‘radiate outward’ to DACA recipients’ families, including their 200,000 U.S.-citizen children, to the schools where DACA recipients study and teach, and to the employers who have invested time and money in training them. . . . [Additionally,] excluding DACA recipients from the lawful labor force may, they tell us, result in the loss of $215 billion in economic activity and an associated $60 billion in federal tax revenue over the next ten years.”

The decision is the latest action in the years-long legal battle over President Trump’s attempt to dismantle the program in 2017. While legal challenges were ongoing, lower courts preserved the program in order to protect the almost 700,000 young people who came to the United States as children from deportation. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) continued to accept and process renewal applications, but no new applications for DACA were accepted. The Supreme Court’s decision requires DHS to resume acceptance of initial DACA applications, however it remains yet to be seen whether the Trump administration will take action to limit these options. The decision did not address whether DACA itself is legal. The Court explicitly stated: “The dispute is instead primarily about the procedure the agency followed in [rescinding DACA].”

In 2012, DACA was created through President Obama’s executive action. The program allowed for qualified individuals in the U.S. who were brought to the country as children to receive protection from deportation and a work permit. Tens of thousands of DACA recipients are working in essential jobs, helping to fill the gap in the country’s supply of qualified educators and healthcare workers.

If you have specific questions or concerns about your DACA application, please contact us today.