Supreme Court Rules Against Trump, Favors DREAMers

Updated Friday 19 June 2020 6:20
Supreme Court Rules Against Trump, Favors DREAMers
In a major rebuke to President Trump, the U.S. Supreme Court has blocked the administration's plan to dismantle an Obama-era program that has protected more than 600,000 so-called DREAMers from deportation. The vote was 5-4, with Chief Justice John Roberts writing the opinion.

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Under the Obama program, qualified individuals brought to the U.S. as children were given temporary legal status if they graduated from high school or were honorably discharged from the military, and if they passed a background check. Just months after taking office, Trump moved to revoke the program, only to be blocked by lower courts — and now the Supreme Court.

Roberts' opinion for the court was a narrow but powerful rejection of the way the Trump administration went about trying to abolish the program known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA.

"We do not decide whether DACA or its rescission are sound policies," Roberts wrote. "The wisdom of those decisions is none of our concern. Here we address only whether the Administration complied with the procedural requirements in the law that insist on 'a reasoned explanation for its action.' "

In 2017, then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions simply declared DACA illegal and unconstitutional. "Such an open-ended circumvention of immigration laws was an unconstitutional exercise of authority by the executive branch," he said at the time. Sessions argued that the program should be rescinded because he said it was unlawful from the start.

But, as Roberts observed, the attorney general offered no detailed justifications for canceling DACA. Nor did the acting secretary of homeland security at the time, Elaine Duke, who put out a memo announcing the rescission of DACA that relied entirely on Sessions' opinion that the program was unlawful.

As Roberts noted, Duke's memo didn't address the fact that thousands of young people had come to rely on the program, emerging from the shadows to enroll in degree programs, embark on careers, start businesses, buy homes and even marry and have 200,000 children of their own who are U.S. citizens, not to mention that DACA recipients pay $60 billion in taxes each year.

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