For almost eight years, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program has helped thousands of young people who were brought here illegally as children climb out from the shadows. Under its relative umbrella of safety, which allowed qualified immigrants to defer deportation for two years at a time indefinitely (even if it didn’t provide a clear path to citizenship), these “Dreamers” were able to go to school, get jobs, pay taxes and have families in the only country they’ve likely ever known. Many of them have become true immigrant success stories.
That’s all been under threat during the current presidential administration, however, which has taken a hardline stance against many long-standing immigration policies and immigrants in general. Just this month, however, the United States Supreme Court blocked attempts to dismantle the Obama-era program entirely, saying that the government had failed in its obligation to “provide a reasoned explanation” for ending the program.
For many Dreamers, however, the feeling of relief won’t last long. The current administration has long held that the DACA program is illegal because it was created without the consent of Congress via executive order. The Supreme Court’s ruling did not say that this administration cannot end the program entirely — merely that it had failed to abide by the Administrative Procedure Act’s rules (which require a reason that isn’t arbitrary or capricious).
Fortunately, all legal maneuvers take time — and that could be a benefit to Dreamers if the November election sees changes that affect the political climate. In the meantime, anyone who is seeking a path to citizenship or permanent residency should keep working with an immigration attorney who understands the challenges they face.