Supreme Court DACA Ruling Relief May Be Temporary

June 19, 2020

The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program survives to see another day, but so does the Trump administration’s legal basis for ending it, as the Supreme Court’s decision focused on the procedural requirements to which the Department of Homeland Security failed to adhere.

“The dispute before the Court is not whether DHS may rescind DACA.  All parties agree that it may.  The dispute is instead primarily about the procedure the agency followed in doing so,” Chief Justice Roberts writes in the majority opinion.  In a dissenting opinion, Justice Kavanaugh observes, “The Court’s resolution of this narrow [Administration Procedure Act (APA)] issue of course cannot eliminate the broader uncertainty over the status of the DACA recipients.” 

The majority decision that the Trump administration violated the APA is similar to arguments made in an amicus curiae brief joined by HR Policy to the Supreme Court. 

Inaction has consequences:  Since 2001, dozens of bills providing a lasting solution for Dreamers have been introduced in Congress and all have failed.  President Obama created the DACA program in 2012 to provide temporary relief as Congress continued to search for a compromise. 

The Coalition for the American Dream, of which HR Policy is a part, said in a statement:  “Today’s court ruling is beneficial not only for those protected under the DACA program, but for U.S. businesses and the broader economy.  The United States is home to nearly 700,000 DACA recipients—young immigrants who came to this country as children.  It has granted them the ability to legally study and work in the U.S. since 2012, benefiting the program’s recipients and our entire nation in the process.”

Continuing uncertainty:  The DACA program remains on the same perilous ground as when the Trump administration decided to rescind it in 2017.  This will remain the case until Congress passes a law enshrining the program or otherwise providing certainty for DACA recipients and their employers.  

Elections matter:  If Joe Biden wins the presidency, his administration will likely leave the program untouched for four to eight years, regardless of which party holds Congress.  A Democratic sweep of the White House and both houses of Congress could see DACA enshrined into law. 

Meanwhile, the Trump administration is gearing up to apply new restrictions to nonimmigrant work visas, such as the L-1 and H-1B.  HR Policy submitted a letter noting why workers on these visas are vital to the economic recovery.  

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