Supreme Court hears DACA case impacting undocumented immigrants
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The future of nearly 700,000 young people known as “Dreamers” is in the hands of the United States Supreme Court.
Hundreds of protesters and supporters of the program known as DACA, or the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, took to the streets outside the Supreme Court Tuesday as Justices heard nearly 90-minute of oral arguments inside the courtroom.
“We have to show our support, show that there is no fear, that they deserve to be here,” said DACA supporter Valentina Loaiza, a sophomore at Cornell University in New York. “They deserve to have an education just like any of us.”
The case centers around those like Rev. Cassandra Nunez: undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children by their parents. Many of those children, like Nunez, have stayed long enough to become adults. In 2017, the Trump administration shut down DACA, arguing the Obama-era program is illegal because it lacked Congressional approval.
Nunez led a prayer breakfast Tuesday morning with lawmakers and supporters across the street from the Supreme Court on Capitol Hill.
“I often get asked when will God step in and bring relief to those suffering under an unfair and broke immigration system,” Nunez said. “My response is always ‘when you get up and march forward.’”
Trump tweeted ahead of the hearings he would try to strike a deal with Democrats if the court rules in his favor.
“Many of the people in DACA, no longer very young, are far from “angels.” Some are very tough, hardened criminals," Trump tweeted without citing evidence or crime statistics. "President Obama said he had no legal right to sign order, but would anyway. If Supreme Court remedies with overturn, a deal will be made with Dems for them to stay!”
Meanwhile, Congressional Democrats are still standing backing the program.
“We believe and we hope that the Supreme Court will recognize that DACA recipients and Dreamers are just as American as anyone else,” said Rep. Joaquin Castro, chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus.
“The battles we think we’ve won don’t stay won, so we have to keep showing up,” said Sen. Mazie Hirono.
If the court rules against the president and upholds DACA, those like Nunez are hoping lawmakers will make the program permanent and end years of legal limbo.
“People’s lives depend on it,” Nunez said. “My daughter’s life depends on it.”
Justices are not expected to rule on DACA until the spring, likely making immigration a key point of the 2020 presidential race.