US Supreme Court Upholds DACA in Historic Ruling

By Shani Saxon Jun 18, 2020

The United States Supreme Court on Thursday (June 18) voted 5-4 to uphold the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, striking a massive blow to the Trump administration, NBC News reports. President Trump has been committed to ending the immigration program for years, releasing a statement in September 2017 that read in part: "virtually all other top legal experts have advised that the program is unlawful and unconstitutional and cannot be successfully defended in court."

The Supreme Court apparently does not agree with that assessment. Reports NBC:

The decision authored mostly by Chief Justice John Roberts said the government failed to give an adequate justification for ending the federal program. The administration could try again to shut it down by offering a more detailed explanation for its action, but the White House might not want to end such a popular program in the heat of a presidential campaign.

Launched by President Obama in 2012, DACA offers protection for close to 800,000 people brought to the United States as children. These legal immigrants, often referred to as “Dreamers,” can live and work in the U.S. via a renewable temporary status. There is currently no path to citizenship for Dreamers, but activists remain hopeful that the Senate will pass the DREAM Act, which would provide a "pathway to legal status for undocumented youth," according to The American Immigration Council

According to NBC:

Roberts was joined in the majority by liberal Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor.

"We conclude that the acting secretary did violate the [Administrative Procedure Act]," and that the decision to rescind DACA "must be vacated," Roberts wrote.

Conservative Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh filed opinions that concurred with parts of the majority and with parts of the dissent.

Thomas wrote, "Today’s decision must be recognized for what it is: an effort to avoid a politically controversial but legally correct decision."

Immigration advocacy group United We Dream, which is described as the "largest immigrant youth-led network" on its web site, posted a response to SCOTUS’ DACA ruling on Twitter, saying today’s win should be celebrated, but the fight is far from over. 


The National Immigration Law Center also posted a celebratory tweet, saying, "Hundreds of thousands of immigrant young people can continue to live and work, and contribute to their communities in the U.S."


According to NBC, data shows that "over 90 percent" of dreamers are employed, roughly half of them are in school, and many don’t speak the language of their home countries. "DACA truly changed my life," Claudia Quinonez of Maryland told NBC. She came to the United States with her mother when she was 11-years-old. "I have a Social Security number. I have the ability to work, to contribute, and pay taxes," she added.