WASHINGTON DC — It took 18 long days for them to march from New York to the nation’s capital — but these young undocumented immigrants, known as Dreamers, were determined to show Supreme Court justices that they would go to great lengths to fight for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals programs, or DACA.
“Those of us who are undocumented know our bodies hold and remember the uncertainty of our immigration status every day. But over the last eighteen days, as we’ve marched through rain and shine together, as we danced to Selena’s ‘El Chico del Apartamento Cinco Doce’ together, as we held hands in community with each other, I’d never felt more certain at any other time in my life that everything would be ok,” says Esther Jeon, Nakasec community organizer.
The Dreamers and their supporters were all fired up as they arrived at the Supreme Court.
On Tuesday, nine Supreme Court justices heard a scheduled 80 minutes of arguments over President Donald Trump’s plan to end DACA, which was implemented by his predecessor, Barack Obama, back in 2017.
Trump argued that Obama went beyond his constitutional limits and bypassed Congress when he created DACA by executive action.
The Republican president, known for his hardline immigration policies, took to Twitter Tuesday morning and said, “Many of the people in DACA, no longer very young, are far from ‘angels’. Some are very tough, hardened criminals.”
Trump claimed Obama said he had no legal right to sign the executive order but did anyway — and pointed out that if the Supreme Court remedies the situation by overturning DACA, a deal would be made with Democrats for these so-called Dreamers to stay in the country.
DACA currently protects about 700,000 undocumented immigrants from deportation and also provides them work permits, though not a path to citizenship.
Trump ordered an end to DACA in 2017 but lower court rulings in California, New York and the District of Columbia have blocked him from ending it immediately.
DACA remains in effect at least until the Supreme Court issues its decision, which will likely be in 2020.
For now, DACA recipients can renew their protected status – but no new applicants can sign up.
With the Trump administration’s continued efforts to eliminate DACA, these so-called Dreamers and their advocates are also renewing pressure on lawmakers to finally pass the Dream Act, which would not only protect them from deportation and allow them to legally work — but to finally give them a path to citizenship.