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The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday, by a thin 5-4 margin, shot down President Donald Trump’s attempt to end DACA – a program implemented by the executive order of former President Barack Obama that allows the young children of undocumented immigrants to work, study and live in the United States if they register with the federal government and avoid trouble.
There are approximately 15,000 DACA recipients in Colorado and more than 750,000 nationwide, and the majority of Americans favor allowing them to stay in the only country most have ever known. Implemented by the Obama administration in 2012, DACA stands for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.
There are numerous DACA recipients in Eagle County, including essential health care workers, who would have faced deportation to Mexico – a country largely unknown to them – if the Supreme Court had ruled in favor of the Trump administration’s legal challenge.
A little over a year ago, the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives passed the DREAM and Promise Act of 2019 by a margin of 237 to 187, with 7 Republicans joining all of the Democrats. That bill, which has yet to even get a hearing in the Republican-controlled Senate, would codify Obama’s executive action into law and permanently remove the threat of deportation for the Dreamers.
Colorado Gov. Jared Polis, a Democrat who used to represent the Vail area in Congress, noted that the court found the Trump administration’s decision to rescind DACA “arbitrary and capricious” and offered this statement:
“Here in Colorado, we know our immigrants make our state, and our country, a stronger and a better place to live. Immigrants enrich our communities. I am thrilled that the thousands of DREAMers in Colorado will no longer be forced to live in fear and am glad the court made the right decision, although we still need Congress to act and create a pathway to citizenship. This is a historic moment for our country. Now is the time for the federal government to work together on bipartisan comprehensive immigration reform.”
U.S. Rep. Joe Neguse, a Democrat who was elected to Polis’ congressional seat and is the first African-American Coloradan elected to Congress, offered this statement on the DACA decision:
“The Supreme Court’s decision today reaffirms that the American dream is alive and well, and that home is and will remain here for hundreds of thousands of young students and workers who are contributing to our economy and our nation every day, many serving in essential roles in health care, child care and elsewhere to serve our society in the midst of a global health emergency.
“Today we reaffirm as a nation, that we will not stand for President Trump’s cruel and unjustified efforts to deport countless young people. The opportunity that my parents were able to receive in America when they immigrated from Eritrea, and that my sister and myself were able to receive as a result, is incalculable. We must continue to fight to ensure that immigrants who come to our shores and our borders can seek these same opportunities.
“We must continue to fight to ensure permanent protections for Dreamers, to uphold our American values as a nation of refuge and opportunity, and to reject the dangerous immigration policies this President continues to push.”
Neguse’s parents are African immigrants to Colorado. Click here to view Neguse’s speech on the House floor last May as he argued in support of providing a permanent solution for Dreamers through the American DREAM and Promise Act, which he voted in favor of passing.
The International Rescue Committee, which provides legal representation to more than 2,000 DACA recipients, put out the following press release:
The International Rescue Committee (IRC) responds today to the U.S. Supreme Court’s (SCOTUS) 5-4 decision to block the Trump administration’s attempted termination of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
DACA recipients are valued members of our families, schools, workplaces, and communities. Amidst the COVID-19 crisis, they are critical to the response. According to the Center for American Progress, more than 200,000 DACA recipients are front line workers integral to America’s pandemic response, including nearly 30,000 individuals who are medical professionals.
Hans Van de Weerd, the Vice President of Resettlement, Asylum, and Integration at the IRC said:
“The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to uphold DACA is a victory for hundreds of thousands of DACA recipients, including their more than 25,000 U.S. citizen children, and their communities. This decision finally makes good on the promise that we made to so many talented young people—that they have a home here and they do not have to fear being uprooted or separated from their families.
“Although DACA continues today, the program is still in jeopardy. A permanent solution is needed to ensure security and stability for the more than 825,000 DACA recipients and millions of undocumented immigrants who call this country home. With a majority of Americans supporting permanent relief for DACA recipients, the Senate must pass the bipartisan American Dream and Promise Act (H.R. 6), which already passed the House, to ensure that DACA recipients can make a home in the U.S.”
The IRC will continue to provide direct immigration legal representation on behalf of more than 2,000 individual DACA recipients, alongside legal information and ‘Know Your Rights’ workshops to ensure they continue to enjoy basic civil rights including the right to work. The IRC stands with all Dreamers and will continue to advocate for a pathway to permanent residency and citizenship.