Donald Trump’s obsession to overturn every Obama initiative shifts to the Supreme Court as the Justices begin hearings on Nov. 12 to assess the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA) that protected those immigrants who, as children, came into the US with their undocumented parents.
The 700,000 DACA participants, also known as Dreamers, came to this country as young children, brought by their undocumented parents. Some of them, now in their 30s, grew up in the US and know no other country as home.
They were living their lives, contributing to their community, going to school or fighting for their country, but their fortune turned around when Trump — for no apparent reason — decided to end the program created by Obama in 2012. Trump decided to repeal the program in 2017 creating this crisis.
Lower courts have consistently ruled against the Trump administration attempts to dismantle the program. Appeals by Trump’s Department of Justice have finally brought it to the High Court.
DACA participants from all over the country have arrived in Washington DC to demonstrate for a program that will determine their future.
Two dozen of the Dreamers have walked the 250 miles from New York City to the Supreme Court, to bring attention to the impending showdown in the Supreme Court. Among the marchers is Carolina Fung Feng, one of the plaintiffs in one of the lawsuits against the Trump government and one of the estimated 20,000 Dreamers from Asian countries.
Fung Feng fears that people have forgotten about the Dreamers because of all the other things coming out of the White House and Congress: the trade wars, the faltering economy, the puzzling foreign policy that appears to please the Russians and alienates US allies, the climate crisis, the ongoing border mess and the impeachment proceedings.
“For some people, it’s not on their minds anymore because the program never terminated,” says Fung Feng, who was 12-years old when she came into this country. “We want to change that and tell them, ‘No, you need to remember this and come out and support us again.'”
“I wanted to stand up for myself and my community,” she says, “because we have a lot to lose.”
The justices will not necessarily rule on the legality of the program but rather the legality of the Trump’s efforts to end it. At issue are two central questions: if the Trump administration’s effort to unravel the protections is reviewable by the court and if the move to terminate the program is “arbitrary and capricious,” or unreasonable, in violation of a federal law that sets standards for agency actions, according to US News
The Trump administration wants to end the DACA program over concerns that it was unconstitutional and an overreach of executive authority. The government maintains it is illegal.
With the conservative majority in the Supreme Court, it is uncertain how they will rule on the DACA question. It is expected that they will issue their ruling in the Spring of 2020.
“Ending DACA is the latest evidence of this administration’s utter lack of commitment to our nation’s founding values of equality and fairness,” stated Suman Raghunathan, the former executive director of South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT), a national civil rights and racial justice organization.
“Our current patchwork of immigration policies and programs is broken, and we demand Congress does its job to craft a common-sense immigration process that creates a roadmap to citizenship for aspiring new Americans. This is the only way to align our immigration laws with the values Americans hold dear,” Raghunathan continued.