DACA Survives the Supreme Court Challenge (But it is Not a Total Victory)

On June 18th, 2020, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled against the Trump Administration in the case of Department of Homeland Security v. Regents of the University of California. It is an important, much needed win for immigrant rights. The nation’s highest court has stopped the Trump Administration’s attempt to end the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. 

That being said, it is not a total victory. DACA is still under threat from President Trump. Strong, permanent legal protections for DREAMers are still required. Here, our DACA attorney provides an overview of the Supreme Court’s decision and we explain where things currently stand with the law.

Trump Administration Loses—DACA Remains in Place

To start, it is important to emphasize the top headline: The Supreme Court has saved DACA. President Trump’s attempt to end the program was unsuccessful. Hundreds of thousands of people who were brought to the United States as young children will get a reprieve from potential immigration enforcement action by the Trump Administration. It is a major victory and it matters. 

A Technical Violation: DHS Gets Another Chance

Unfortunately, the Supreme Court did not save DACA on the strongest possible grounds. In its holding, the court focused on a federal law called the Administrative Procedure Act (APA)—a statute that governs the process by which federal agencies issue regulations. The court determined that the Trump Administration violated the APA by attempting to end DACA in an improper manner. In other words, the Trump Administration violated the law on technical grounds—meaning they are going to get another chance to undermine DACA. 

Justice Sotomayor’s Outstanding Concurring Opinion

Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote a concurring opinion that was much stronger than the majority opinion and that highlighted the deeper problems with the Trump Administration’s handling of DACA. While the majority opinion focused on the process errors, Justice Sotomayor notes that  President Trump’s attempt to end DACA protections was contaminated by impermissible discriminatory animus.” It is a very astute point: The Administration’s effort to end DACA was more than sloppy; it was a fundamental attack on the equal rights for immigrants. 

An Important Victory—Now Action is Needed

The Supreme Court’s decision will produce tangible, immediate benefits from hundreds of thousands of Dreamers. Even though the court did not rule on the strongest grounds, that is still important. Now, action is needed. The Administration still has the opportunity to try to end DACA again. As we have already seen with the Trump Administration’s travel bans, their policies may eventually be found permissible after multiple attempts. The good news is that a federal election is only a few months away. Americans will have a change to stand up for immigrant rights. 

Speak to Our DACA Attorney for Immediate Help

At Goldstein Immigration Lawyers, we are proud to protect the rights and interests of DREAMers. If you have any questions about DACA, our immigration lawyer can help. To schedule a confidential initial appointment, please contact us now. We represent DACA recipients throughout Southern California, including in Los Angeles, Anaheim, Long Beach, Compton, Cerritos, Santa Monica, and San Bernardino.