Supreme Court Debates Ending DACA
January 7, 2020
The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program was created by former U.S. President Barack Obama, who designed it to protect immigrants who entered this country illegally as children. DACA protects about 660,000 young immigrants from deportation and allows them to obtain work permits.
The Trump Administration’s 2017 attempt to cancel this program was part of the president’s strict immigration policies, but it was blocked. The administration argued that Obama bypassed Congress when he created DACA, which exceeded his constitutional powers. Their appeal to end DACA took place November 12 in Supreme Court, with opposing viewpoints from conservatives and liberals.
A Conservative Majority
The Supreme Court has a 5:4 conservative majority and two of the judges were appointed by Trump. Though the court is divided on this issue, both judges have shown support for what the president argued. Conservative wing members did not seem to support allowing the court’s review of the administration’s plans to phase out DACA, and the conservative justices indicated that there were legally sound reasons to do so.
The liberal justices feel the administration did not consider the many individuals and businesses that rely on DACA, and Justice Sonia Sotomayor called Trump’s decision a choice to destroy lives. She pointed out that program recipients rely heavily on the program, and though Trump said in the past that he would look after them, he has not. Sotomayor also felt that the administration did not supply appropriate policy rationale that would make the decision legal. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi also led a symbolic march that same day directed at young immigrants who entered this country as children.
The Main Issues
The justices are focusing on whether Trump’s DACA repeal attempt was legal, and if the courts have the right to question his actions. The justices also debated whether the administration had enough justification to terminate DACA. The arguments determined that there is an ideological split between the court’s conservative and liberal counterparts. It is expected that the court will rule on this issue early next summer, a few months before the November election.
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