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Supreme Court refuses to end DACA protections
2020-06-18

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The U.S. Supreme Court ruled on June 18 that the Trump administration cannot dismantle the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals ( DACA ) program, which has offered protections to hundreds of thousands of people who both are undocumented and were brought to the United States as children.

The decision, which was 5-4, was authored by Chief Justice John Roberts; he was joined by the Court's four liberal judges on the decision.

The judges emphasized that they were not ruling on the soundness of DACA itself or its rescission, only on whether the administration was offering legal and reasonable means by which they hastily set out to dismantle it. The program was introduced by the Obama administration in 2012 and allows participant protection against deportation as well as the right to work.

Like much Obama-era policy, DACA has been in the sights of the Trump administration for some time; they froze the program in 2017. The June 18 decision is yet another significant loss for the current administration's legal officials, who earlier this week lost SCOTUS cases wherein LGBT persons had been seeking employment protections under the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

The June 18 ruling has significant meaning for LGBT DACA participants, many of whom lack support systems like family resources or healthcare afforded to their straight peers. The Los Angeles-based Williams Institute estimated in 2017 that there are about 75,000 LGBT persons who would be affected by the DREAM Act—proposed legislation codifying a path to citizenship through college, work and/or military service—and that over 36,000 of those people had participated in DACA.

"This is a critical step in the right direction for young people across the country," said HRC President Alphonso David in a June 18 release. "The DACA program provides an opportunity for young people, including LGBTQ Dreamers, to live productive, safe and happy lives in the United States. Today's ruling by the Supreme Court keeps the DACA program in place, but there is still work left to be done. Now, we must elect pro-equality leaders to Congress to pass a clean DREAM Act—that is how we permanently protect the nearly two million Dreamers, for whom today's ruling is only a temporary solution."


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