Today the U.S. Supreme Court issued a 5-4 ruling declaring unlawful the Trump administration’s attempt to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, more commonly known as DACA. This decision provides a small degree of relief for DACA recipients around the country, and their families, who have been in limbo since the president tried to rescind the DACA program in 2017.
Since DACA’s inception in 2012, hundreds of thousands of young people who were brought to this country as children have received permission to legally live, study, and work in the U.S. through the program.
But DACA recipients and those who are DACA eligible are not yet in the clear.
Today’s decision that the Trump administration did not follow the proper legal procedures to end the DACA program back in 2017 is certainly good news in that it allows the program to continue at the moment. However, it is important to note that the administration does have the authority to rescind DACA, though doing so would likely take some time. Immediate response to the Supreme Court decision suggests it would be difficult for the administration to properly end the program before the election in November.
A full victory will require legislative action to create a pathway to permanent legal status for DACA recipients and undocumented people in the U.S. NCAN encourages Congress to create this pathway so that DACA recipients do not have to live with uncertainty and fear that future attempts to end the program may be successful.
Currently, DACA recipients must periodically apply to renew their status; and DACA recipients do not receive all of the benefits of full U.S. citizenship. For example, they are not eligible for federal financial aid, which makes it much more challenging for them to afford higher education.
NCAN member organizations across the country serve students with DACA status and undocumented students who have ambitions to pursue higher education. Many DACA recipients have already earned a college degree and gone on to contribute to their communities by becoming nurses, teachers, business owners, and more.
These students, sometimes collectively referred to as Dreamers, deserve the opportunity to fully participate in our society – for many the U.S. is the only home they’ve ever known.
Candy Marshall, president of TheDream.US, the nation’s largest college access and success program for immigrant youth, and an NCAN board member, said: “TheDream.US, with its Partner Colleges, will continue to support DREAMers’ pursuit of a college education until Congress passes legislation. … As the stories, talents, and goals of our Scholars make clear, DREAMers are essential for America’s future prosperity. We all should work together to build on the momentum from today’s positive Supreme Court decision to finally do what is right for DREAMers and our country.”
Tina Fernandez, executive director of Achieve Atlanta, and an NCAN board member, also responded to today’s ruling: “Achieve Atlanta supports DREAMers’ pursuit of a college education and will continue to do so. Their contribution in the State of Georgia, as Achieve Atlanta Scholars, students, parents, teachers, and essential workers is a critical lifeline to our state’s success. We urge Congress to pass legislation that will provide DREAMers with permanent status and acknowledge their legitimacy as important members of America’s society."
James Dorsey, CEO of College Success Foundation, an NCAN member organization said: “All students should have the opportunity to achieve their academic dreams, no matter where they were born. Equity and equal opportunity have been at the heart of College Success Foundation’s mission and purpose for 20 years, and we will work hard for the next 20 to make sure every student has the opportunity to succeed.”
"DACA Lives" –Inside Higher Ed ("An estimated 454,000 undocumented immigrant college students comprise roughly 2 percent of the U.S. higher education system. About half -- 216,000 -- are eligible for the DACA program.")