Over the course of the Donald Trump presidency, reports of immigrant bans, family separations, and dysfunctional processes have flooded to the frontline of national awareness. So much so, that Trump himself faces a number of court hearings over his impending impeachment inquiry. While many of Trump’s plans have ended up on the Supreme Court cutting room floor, the most recent is long-winded and highly anticipated by the masses: the Supreme Court DACA hearing. On Tuesday, DACA — a crucial program protecting young immigrants from deportation — ended up face-to-face with the nation’s highest court.
Enacted in 2012 by former President Barack Obama, DACA has been a source of contention for Trump since he was elected to office. In fact, Trump’s made massive efforts to get rid of the program entirely, claiming Obama had no right to create this “illegal” measure. After Trump announced his plan, several young DACA recipients, including Mariana Bellot-Flores, told Refinery29 what DACA means to them. “For all intents and purposes, I am an American,” she said. “I've been here my whole life. There's so many Dreamers who are accomplishing so much and doing so much for their communities, making this country what it is: amazing. So Trump, you're not going to take away my dreams and my future.”
Other DACA recipients — the majority of whom are under 30 — were in the courtroom during arguments Tuesday, and even more were demonstrating outside. But what, exactly, is going on with DACA right now, and why are people protesting about it? Immigration policy is a tricky subject, so we’ve laid out some of the questions you probably have and what it all means for the future of Dreamers in the United States.
First things first, what is DACA?
DACA stands for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. It is a U.S. immigration policy that allows some people who came to the country as children to request that any removal orders for deportation be postponed. It also allows DACA recipients to work legally.
Who are the Dreamers, and what is happening to them?
“Dreamers” are people who are affected by DACA or the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act, which Congress has not passed. In September 2017, Trump announced he would end the DACA program. Without it, an estimated 800,000 immigrants who are currently lawfully in the United States would lose their legal status.
What’s the latest news in the ongoing DACA battle?
Three federal appeals courts blocked Trump’s attempt to end DACA, saying he violated the Administrative Procedure Act. So, the case went to the Supreme Court, and justices heard oral arguments on Tuesday. In a tweet, Trump said that if the Supreme Court “remedies” the situation by allowing him to end the program, “a deal will be made” to help DACA recipients stay in the United States.
What is the Supreme Court deciding with DACA?
The Supreme Court is deciding whether or not Trump’s reasons for shutting down the DACA program are legitimate, or if the rationale he used to end the program was legally flawed. As much as this case is about immigration policy for people who were brought to the United States as children, it is also about whether Trump had the authority to end the program in the way he did.
Why are people protesting outside of the Supreme Court?
Thousands of protesters demonstrated outside the Supreme Court building Tuesday, some there to fight for the right to stay in the United States while others came to show support for the Dreamers. They chanted, “Up, up with liberation! Down, down with deportation!” But there was one key message Dreamers wanted to deliver: home is here.