Supreme Court Upholds The DACA Program

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

I did not think we would see two good decisions this week, but I'm glad to be wrong.

The Supreme Court has ruled that Trump and the Department of Homeland Security cannot arbitrarily end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program created by the Obama administration.

The court did not necessarily rule in favor of the program itself, however, and only ruled that the Trump regime did not follow proper procedure and tried to end the program with no plan for what to do next.

Chief Justice John Roberts wrote the majority opinion.

Roberts wrote for the court that the administration did not pursue the end of the program properly.

“We do not decide whether DACA or its rescission are sound policies,“ Roberts wrote. “We address only whether the agency complied with the procedural requirement that it provide a reasoned explanation for its action. Here the agency failed to consider the conspicuous issues of whether to retain forbearance and what if anything to do about the hardship to DACA recipients.

The Department of Homeland Security can try again, he wrote.

It's fairly clear where we go from here.

Another attempt to end the program and the resulting court challenges would take at least a year to work their way through a relevant court of appeals and onto the Supreme Court's docket with a decision unlikely to come until late 2021 or early 2022.

Either we replace Trump with Joe Biden in November so that never happens, or the Trump regime will make another attempt to end the program and probably succeed on their second try during his second term in office.

Ironically, Joe Biden could be the one who effectively ends the program if Democrats retake control of the White House and Senate and finally pass a comprehensive immigration reform bill. The DACA program never would have been necessary in the first place if Congress codified elements of it into federal law. Congress failed to pass immigration reform in 2007 and 2013 because most Republicans and a small number of Democrats (and one independent senator from Vermont) blocked it in both cases.

The dissenting justices say the program was illegal from the moment President Obama signed it, of course. Their opinion was written by Clarence Thomas.

  • muselet

    I’m trying very hard not to be obstructively cynical about this, and failing.

    John Roberts’s weasel-words seem to betray a concern that killing a program as broadly popular as DACA in an election year could hurt Rs. His “try harder next time” reads like a wink and a nod to anti-immigration Rs that he’s actually on their side (also, “Don’t hurt me!”).

    Clarence Thomas is an embarrassment, but at least he’s not so obvious a political actor as Roberts. There’s no subtext to his dissent.

    Roberts seems to be trying to thread a needle between doing what he knows he is expected to do and saving the GOP from itself.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy for the DREAMers. I’d have been happier with a definitive opinion that was written by someone else, is all.

    And as I said on Monday—after the Title VII decision—there must be a truly odious decision coming that will make the Right forgive Roberts for his recent apostasies.


  • katanahamon

    I suppose I’m naive. I didn’t think America would reach the point that our courts, our entire legislative and judicial branches would become so polar and politicized and that the right wing would exist in a shameless bubble of non reality. Now, people can lie with impunity because they know other liars will support them, there is money to be made by lying, and there is an entire right wing propaganda industry to support the lies and the entire concept of being shamed is..gone. Not only that, they are proud to lie, and this only benefits them. We exist in a society now where the right wing says “free market capitalism,” yet we blindly and mutely accept paying hundreds or thousands of dollars for prescriptions (and many other things) that cost pennies to produce, and support an entire industry of health insurers that do nothing except profit from our misfortune. Ethics, expertise, facts, knowledge, institutional knowledge and experience are all things of the past. Getting back to the courts, the damage that Rump’s appointees will do in the future is simply incalculable at this point.

    • Scopedog

      Getting back to the courts, the damage that Rump’s appointees will do in the future is simply incalculable at this point.

      Yep. Of course, it’s what we were warning people about back in 2016 when too many were babbling on about how horrible Hillary was and they were either not going to vote or they were throwing their votes away to Jill Stein and Gary Johnson. When we brought up the issue of the courts, they sneered that concerns about the courts were a “Democratic scare tactic!” and that we should just fuck off.