The U.S. Supreme Court on Jan. 22 once again did not act on the Trump administration’s effort to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, leaving protections for nearly 700,000 undocumented immigrants who came to the United States as children in place for at least the next several months.
The court’s inaction is a loss for the Trump administration that had asked for the justices to take up the issue this fall and comes as the President has tried to exchange protections for a border wall.
On Jan. 19, Trump proposed a deal that would extend temporary protections to DACA recipients and immigrants with temporary protected status in exchange for his border wall. The offer was a reversal from his previous position of leaving the program in the hands of the Supreme Court.
Democrats immediately dismissed that proposal and pushed instead for a more permanent solution.
The back and forth over DACA has left the program’s beneficiaries with no clear path forward. The program, announced in 2012, provides recipients with protection for two years, which can be renewed, and allows them to work legally in the country. To qualify, recipients must have entered the country before the age of 16 and lived in the United States since 2007. Those already enrolled in the program have been able to apply for renewal, as a result of an injunction issued last January by Judge William Alsup, though the administration is not required to take new applications.
The Supreme Court made the right call on Jan. 22. As Democratic National Committee Chair Tom Perez stated, “Trump’s cruelty toward immigrants knows no bounds, but that doesn’t mean his administration can sidestep the rule of law. Trump’s attack on the DACA program goes against the will of almost 90 percent of Americans who want DACA recipients to stay in the U.S. These are our neighbors and friends, our classmates and co-workers. They are American in every way but on paper, and they deserve the chance to stay in the country they call home. It is long past time for Trump to stop using them as bargaining chips and work with Democrats to fix our broken immigration system.”