What’s next for DACA?


NICK EICHER, HOST: Coming up next on The World and Everything in It: the fight over DACA. 

In 2012, then-President Barack Obama went around Congress to create DACA, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. It protects from deportation roughly 650,000 immigrants brought to the United States as children.

MARY REICHARD, HOST: In 2017, President Trump ended the administrative amnesty, citing lack of constitutional authority to create it in the first place. President Obama had said he couldn’t change immigration law by himself. But then, he did. 

President Trump has called on Congress to pass legislation that would offer a permanent legal solution.

EICHER: But on Thursday, the Supreme Court in a five to four decision rejected the Trump Administration’s efforts to end DACA. WORLD’s Sarah Schweinsberg reports now on what’s next in the DACA saga.

SARAH SCHWEINSBERG, REPORTER: When the court upheld DACA last week, so-called Dreamers around the country celebrated. 

In San Diego, a handful of the 40,000 DACA recipients living in the area gathered outside the county administration building. 

Irving Hernandez has DACA status and works as an aerospace engineer. He told ABC-10, he’s relieved—for now. 

HERNANDEZ: For several months, you know I was living with anxiety. Sleepless nights every time that we had a potential DACA decision. We need to take our victories when we get them, enjoy them. So today belongs to us. 

The court’s four liberal justices along with Chief Justice John Roberts said President Trump’s Department of Homeland Security did have authority to halt DACA. But DHS violated procedure by failing to consider, quote—“whether to retain forbearance and what if anything to do about the hardship to DACA recipients.”

The court’s four other conservative-leaning justices argued that the protections were illegal in the first place … and said the Trump administration ended the program by the book.

That left immigration policy advocates wondering what the White House would do next. Keep the program or correct the problems and re-petition to end DACA? 

On Friday, President Trump announced his plan in a tweet, saying: “The Supreme Court asked us to resubmit on DACA, nothing was lost or won…We will be submitting enhanced papers shortly.”

Also, on Friday, White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany said the president’s next attempt will be more thoughtful. 

MCENANY: We’re going to move forward in a responsible way and cure some of the remedies and unlawfulness that we see with the previous memo that brought DACA into place, but we want to find a compassionate way to do this…

But what could continuing the quest to end DACA mean for President Trump politically? 

A Pew Research Center Poll out last week, finds nearly three-quarters of all Americans and more than half of Republicans favor giving “Dreamers” permanent legal status. 

Lora Ries is a homeland security researcher at the Heritage Foundation. She says if that’s what voters want, they need to hold their lawmakers accountable. Not the president. 

RIES: So Congress always has the authority and that’s where the proper authority lies. But for decades, Congress has not passed such legislation.

Ries says the president’s job is to execute the law. Not make it. Even if voters are unhappy. 

RIES: The Trump administration should continue to follow the rule of law and uphold that and enforce it and immigration law should not be an exception to that. 

Hiroshi Motomara is an immigration and citizenship law professor at the UCLA School of Law. He says by continuing the fight against DACA, President Trump can appeal to his base. But the courts move slowly, so it’s highly unlikely another DACA ruling will come down before the November presidential election. 

MOTOMURA: It may well be that his best political calculus is to say he’s gonna fight it, but not really succeed. That might actually be the one thing that plays to the base, but that doesn’t get the negative reaction that he might get from the American people.

Aside from immigration policies, there is something everyone can celebrate about the Supreme Court’s ruling, says Adam White. He’s a constitutional scholar at the American Enterprise Institute. 

WHITE: I think it’s a clear signal not just to the current president, but future presidents, including if the next president is Joe Biden, that policies like this need to go through a much much more rigorous process. 

White says while some of the liberal justices opposed President Trump’s policy on its merits, Justice Kennedy opposed it as a call to hold the executive office and agencies to higher standards. 

That’s something both parties may not like when their politician holds office, but something that’s appreciated when they don’t. 

WHITE: A lot of conservatives just, are disappointed with the outcome today precisely because the court is holding Trump to a standard that Obama was never held to. But I think actually the most important implications are long run. I think that judges, including the judges that have been appointed over the last three years, are going to look at opinions like this and say, we need to do a lot more to police the administrative state.

Reporting for WORLD, I’m Sarah Schweinsberg.


(Daniel Kim/The Sacramento Bee via AP) A driver in a DACA car rally honks and raises a fist in front of the state Capitol in downtown Sacramento, Calif., Thursday, June 18, 2020, to celebrate the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to block the Trump administration’s plan to terminate the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. 

WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.

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