Supreme Court strikes down Trump administration effort to end DACA program

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A split Supreme Court ruled against President Donald Trump’s effort to end the Obama-era DACA program.

The 5-4 majority had Chief Justice John Roberts, a George W. Bush appointee, siding with the court’s four liberals – Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan.

It was the second surprise from the Supreme Court this week. The court, by a 6-3 majority, ruled on Monday that the 1964 Civil Rights Act prohibits employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.

Roberts and Trump appointee Neil Gorsuch sided with the liberal justices in that ruling.

The DACA case involved Trump’s efforts to wind down DACA – Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals – in 2017.

Writing for the majority, Roberts declared that the Trump administration’s termination of the program was “arbitrary and capricious,” in violation of federal law that governs administrative procedure.

“We do not decide whether DACA or its rescission are sound policies. ‘The wisdom’ of those decisions ‘is none of our concern.’ We address only whether the agency complied with the procedural requirement that it provide a reasoned explanation for its action,” Roberts wrote. “Here the agency failed to consider the conspicuous issues of whether to retain forbearance and what if anything to do about the hardship to DACA recipients. That dual failure raises doubts about whether the agency appreciated the scope of its discretion or exercised that discretion in a reasonable manner.”

The ruling impacts 700,000 DACA recipients nationwide, including more than 12,000 in Virginia.

Virginia responses

U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va.

“President Trump’s decision to end DACA plunged hundreds of thousands of innocent young people into legal limbo and wreaked havoc upon nearly every area of American life. I’m so thankful the Court has put an end to this Administration’s ill-conceived broken promise. Congress should now pass the HEROES Act to prevent the deportation of undocumented essential workers during the pandemic and the American Dream and Promise Act to permanently protect these kids and young adults.”

Attorney General Mark Herring, D

“The Supreme Court’s decision to block Trump’s attempt to end the DACA program is truly historic. Today’s win for DREAMers was only possible because of brave individuals all across Virginia and around the country who stood up and demanded the rights and respect that they deserve. This country is the only home most of these young people have ever known and now they will be able to live, work, and raise families here without the fear of deportation looming over them.

“There are more than 12,000 DREAMers who call Virginia home. They have become invaluable members of our communities, our colleges and universities, and they have added billions of dollars to our economy. Today’s decision ensures that these talented young people are able to stay in the Commonwealth and will continue to make it a stronger, better place.

“These gifted young men and women deserve every opportunity to stay in this country and pursue their dreams. It has been an honor and privilege to fight alongside each and every one of you.”

Congressman Donald McEachin, D-Fourth

“When President Obama announced the DACA program seven years ago, he made a promise to over 700,000 young people brought to our country as children with hope for a brighter future — they would not be punished for decisions in which they had no say and we would provide them a chance to build that future here in the United States.

“Under the cruel immigration policies and looming threat of rescinding DACA posed by the Trump Administration, those DREAMers have lived and worked in the United States, making meaningful contributions to our hospitals, schools and communities.

“Today’s Supreme Court ruling re-affirms the truth that discrimination and xenophobia have no place in America. DREAMers are our neighbors, our friends and in every way that matters most, they are American. They deserve a legal path to full citizenship in the only country they call home.”

Congressman Don Beyer, D-Eighth

“Dreamers are Americans, they belong here. This ruling is a great moment for the United States. It is important to remember, though, that even with this decision from the Supreme Court very important work remains. The ball once again is in Congress’ court to pass meaningful, humane, and comprehensive immigration reform to fix our broken immigration system in ways which reflect our values as a nation of immigrants. The Senate could take a big step forward in that regard at any time by passing the Dream and Promise Act.”

Story by Chris Graham


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