On June 18, the Supreme Court of the United States voted 5:4 to continue Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), an Obama administration executive order put in place in 2012 to allow young people to apply for and get authorization to work and/or go to college. The “Dreamers” were brought to the United States as children and were undocumented. Most did not know about their status until they were teenagers. They grew up believing they were American citizens. DACA has allowed more than 800,000 young people who qualified to go to school, work, and live their lives without fear of deportation. Most have completed college and/or law school or other advanced education; 29,000 are health care workers; others are teachers. Many have bought homes and started businesses and families.
The Trump administration ended the program in September 2017. In Department of Homeland Security v. Regents of the University of California, the Supreme Court found that the rescission of the DACA program in 2017 was “arbitrary and capricious in violation of the Administrative Procedures Act.” The rescission has been vacated and remanded to the Department of Homeland Security to reconsider what to do about the hardship to DACA recipients. This is not a permanent solution; Congress still needs to find a permanent solution for the Dreamers. But for now, we all celebrate!
Many Carnegie Corporation of New York grantees were involved in the legal actions and advocacy to protect DACA, including the National Immigration Law Center who represented some of the clients including members of United We Dream and Make the Road; the Center for American Progress; American Business Immigration Coalition; and New American Economy, to name but a few. Many statements have been issued about the decision, but one that I find particularly encouraging is a joint statement from a broad coalition of advocacy groups, including grantees like Niskanen, National Immigration Forum, Bipartisan Policy Center, and UnidosUS, that shows that defending DACA has been a bipartisan effort. And, from recent polling by Politico/Morning Consult, we know that 69 percent of Trump voters want to protect the Dreamers from deportation and find a permanent solution for them and other undocumented workers.
As the late Senator Ted Kennedy, a major advocate for immigration reform, once said: “The work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives, and the dreams shall never die.”
Geri Mannion is the director of the Strengthening U.S. Democracy program at Carnegie Corporation of New York.