On November 12th, the U.S. Supreme Court’s conservative majority signaled that it may let the Trump administration shut down the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program (DACA). DACA is a program that was initiated during the Obama-era in 2012 that granted temporary protection from deportation to about 700,000 young people, known as DREAMers.
DREAMers were brought to the U.S. illegally as children, the program allowed them to legally work, serve in the military, and go to school if they meet specific requirements. To be eligible, DREAMers could not have committed a serious crime, had to have been illegally brought in the U.S. before they were 16 and could be no older than 30, had lived in the U.S. for 5 years, currently in school, had graduated from high school or received a G.E.D certificate, or honorably discharged from the military.
The Trump administration has proposed that the DACA program is illegal and unconstitutional and as a result, needs to end. Three lower federal appeals courts have disagreed with the termination of the program and ruled that for the administration to revoke a policy of this magnitude which affects so many people, businesses and even the U.S. economy, the administration needs to provide a fully supported rationale that weighs the costs and benefits of such a choice. With these unfavorable rulings, the Trump administration appealed to the Supreme Court.
After oral arguments presented to the Supreme Court on November 12th, the future of the DACA program looked grim. There is a possibility that the Court could extend the program’s life.
What is the legal question at the center of this case that the Supreme Court is deciding?
Did the administration provide in a pair of memos issued an adequate explanation for ending the DACA program?
There is no doubt that the administration could end DACA if it desired; the question at the center of this is whether the administration took the correct procedural steps to do so.
Terms to Know for this case: “Reliance Interest”
Several justices repeated this phrase multiple times during arguments. It means that when the government seeks to end a policy that a vast amount of people have relied upon, it must provide an explanation of why the policy change is justified despite the fact that those people have come to depend upon it.
What does all of this mean for Kentucky Immigrant DREAMers?
Despite any ruling from the Supreme Court, the future of DACA is still bleak. If the Trump administration loses this case it just means that they will need to come up with an adequate explanation of its decision to end DACA and go through various procedures to end it. The decision that will be handed down by the Supreme Court will be the difference of the program ending immediately or a more prolonged phase-out of the program.
If you live in the Louisville or Kentucky area and have questions about your immigration status or the status of a loved one please contact our Kentucky immigration lawyers.