NAICU Washington Update

U.S. Supreme Court Takes Up DACA

November 21, 2019

The U.S. Supreme Court began consideration of three combined cases challenging whether the Trump Administration can lawfully end the Obama-era DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) program. The DACA program was created in 2012 by President Obama to temporarily protect individuals who were brought to the U.S. as children and have struggled with having illegal immigration status despite living, attending school, and working in the U.S. for most of their lives. 

President Trump announced he would end the DACA program in 2017, but several district court rulings have left the program on life support, and the participants in limbo.  In addition, Congress failed to pass legislation in both the House and Senate to provide a safe harbor or alternative for individuals registered in the DACA program during the six-month grace period after the announcement ending the program.

While the Supreme Court Justices are arguing many of the emotional and personal aspects of the aftermath of formally ending the program, their only legal responsibility is determining whether the termination of the program by the Trump Administration was lawful.  If they uphold the termination of the program, as many expect they will, it will be up to Congress to confront the fallout of that decision and move legislation to protect the individuals affected.

The final decision is not expected until late spring or early summer next year, falling squarely in the middle of election season.

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