The U.S. Supreme Court is set to hear arguments on Tuesday in a highly anticipated set of cases that threatens the legal status of approximately 700,000 young people. These young people are often called “dreamers,” they were brought to the U.S. illegally as children. This is a program that President Trump tried to rescind seven months after taking office, but the lower courts block his action.
In 2012 President Obama put the program in place to temporarily protect these young people from deportation. If you were in school, were a high school graduate, or had been honorably discharged from the military, and if you passed a background check, then you were eligible for temporary legal status and a work permit. This permit was renewable every two years. The program is formally known as the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA.
President Trump was conflicted about DACA and caught between the mass deportations he promised his political base during the campaign, and his admiration for what so many of the “dreamers” have accomplished.
Those who have received DACA recipients have come from around the world and have become teachers, psychologists, business owners, and doctors.
Their successes illustrate the reason that Republicans and Democrats in Congress tried to work out a DACA deal that Trump would sign in 2017. “Rest easy,” Trump told the “dreamers” in an April 2017 interview with the Associated Press.
But he “kept waffling back and forth over what he would be willing to accept, and wouldn’t be willing to accept,” in terms of a DACA deal, says Julie Hirschfeld Davis, co-author of Border Wars, and congressional editor for The New York Times.
Trump’s indecision was so frustrating for Senate Republican leaders that they worked out a compromise with Democrats.
A total of 35 briefs have been filed in support of DACA. Among them are briefs filed by higher education associations, health professionals, and even briefs filed by more than 145 corporations and business organizations arguing that if the court were to side with the Trump administration and abolish DACA, their companies and industries would be significantly disrupted.
A decision on DACA is expected by summer, just as the 2020 election will be in the public eye. Republicans in Congress may be hoping that the high court will let them off the hook, and rule in favor of DACA.
But whether the current Supreme Court, dominated by conservative justices inclined to defer to presidential power, fulfills those hopes, however, remains to be seen.