With the recent spate of deportations, undocumented immigrants in California and across the nation are in a state of panic, fearing that Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials could swoop down on them at any time and deport them to their country of origin. Now, thanks to the U.S. Supreme Court, they can breathe a little easier.
The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, commonly known as DACA, was set to expire on March 5. Congress was not able to reach an agreement extending it or otherwise protecting the 700,000 people currently enrolled in this Obama-era program. Democrats want a bill focusing on DACA enrollees only; Republicans want a bill that includes immigration enforcement enhancements and increased border security. The impasse was so acrimonious that it resulted in a three-day government shutdown in January. DREAMers feared they would lose their DACA work permits.
Then several California cities and universities sued the Department of Justice in the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, asking that President Trump be ordered to continue the DACA program. U.S. District Judge William Alsup issued the order, and the DOJ appealed directly to the U.S. Supreme Court. However, on Feb. 26, the High Court refused to hear the appeal. This refusal prevents DACA from expiring and gives DREAMers and other enrollees a reprieve from deportation for at least a few months while the case goes back to the 9th Circuit. It likely will not make its way back to the Supreme Court until sometime after its new term begins in October.
In the meantime, DREAMers and DACA enrollees would do well to speak with an experienced immigration attorney to make sure their U.S. resident status protects them from deportation.
Source: USA Today News, “What the Supreme Court ruling means for DACA and almost 700,000 undocumented immigrants,” Alan Gomez, Feb. 26, 2018