It doesn’t look good for the 700,000 DACA participants.
While hundreds of DACA participants and their supporters marched outside the Supreme Court Tuesday, inside the nine Supreme Court justices heard arguments for and against Donald Trump’s order to dismantle the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy put into place by President Barack Obama.
Based on their questioning, the five conservative Supreme Court justices appear to be leaning toward allowing Donald Trump to end the program that protected the children who were brought by their undocumented parents from being deported.
While about 18,000 DACA enrollees are AAPI, tens of thousands more would become eligible if the program was upheld.
Solicitor General Noel Francisco, a Filipino American, arguing on behalf of the US government, said DACA, was a “temporary stopgap measure” that could be ended legally at any time.
Arguing for the DACA program and its supporters, attorney Ted Olson said federal law requires the government to give a detailed explanation before taking an action that affects hundreds of thousands of people and the businesses that employ them.
The legal question the Supreme Court considered was fairly narrow: Did the administration provide in a pair of memos an adequate explanation for ending the DACA program? There is actually little question that the administration could end DACA if it wanted to; the question is whether this administration took the correct procedural steps to do so, according to Vox.
Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh appeared likely to agree that the Department of Homeland Security had acted properly when it tried to end DACA in 2017, while Chief Justice John Roberts did not seem to be as strongly convinced, NBC News reported.
However, Roberts, who some had thought would be the one conservative justice to switch votes, appeared to lean in favor of the Trump administration’s actions.
The liberal justices, led by Justice Sotomayor, the daughter of immigrants, felt that the people most affected by doing away with the problem deserve an explanation.
A decision by the Supreme Court is expected by next Spring, in the heat of primary season. Even if the court majority sides with the plaintiffs, the administration could issue a new memo the next day giving a better explanation.
It would not offer any solace to the DACA participants but at least it would buy them time with the likelihood of another round of court challenges delaying the dismantling of the program. By then, their best hope would be that there be a new White House occupant more sympathetic to their situation.
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