Seven months into office, President Trump attempted to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program that protected over 700,000 immigrants who arrived as children from deportation since the program’s inception in 2012. Then-President Obama used his—arguably lawful—executive authority to temporarily protect eligible individuals provided they were currently enrolled in school, graduated high school, or were honorably discharged from the military and could pass a rigorous background check. Since then, eligible DACA recipients have renewed these permits on a two-year basis, all while advocating for a more permanent solution.
Despite his recission of the program, President Trump has previously praised Dreamers for their economic and social contributions to the United States. This support has been echoed by the vast majority of Republican and Democrat lawmakers, and nearly all Americans.
But before the Supreme Court today are oral arguments not about the substance of the program, but whether the Trump administration’s bid to end DACA was legal. Nonetheless, the President was quick to attack Dreamers this morning, tweeting: “Many of the people in DACA, no longer very young, are far from “angels.” Some are very tough, hardened criminals…If the Supreme Court remedies with overturn, a deal will be made with Dems for them to stay!” Painting DACA recipients as hardened criminals is wildly unsupported and factually incorrect, given that both felonies and serious misdemeanors bar applicants from receiving DACA status.
Higher education institutions, health care associations, and 145 businesses, corporations and nonprofits have filed 35 amicus briefs in this case in support of the Dreamers. The Niskanen Center joined the Coalition for the American Dream amicus brief citing a $350 to $460.3 billion loss in GDP if the program is struck down and Dreamers were deported.
Many lawmakers are happy to hide in the shadow of the Supreme Court while they can, but their responsibility to provide a solution to this issue will require that they make a deal, as the president said, provided it will not cut legal levels of immigration.
Dreamers should no longer be used as political pawns, and both Republicans and Democrats should prepare for a ruling that upholds the president’s recission with a legislative solution at the ready. Time and time again lawmakers have gotten close to a solution, and the urgency to get something accomplished will be more important than ever when the Supreme Court forecloses on workarounds from the courts. It’s time to pass a skinny DACA solution with permanency for Dreamers, allowing them to remain in America and to continue contributing to our great nation.
And remember, if you are a Dreamer, you can still renew your DACA status!