Things That Matter

With Democrats Now In Charge Of The House, What Does That Mean For DACA Moving Forward?

For the past two years federal courts have been the only check against President Trump’s efforts to crack down on immigration. Now that Democrats have won back the House of Representatives in the recent midterm elections, many Americans expect more accountability. One of the most important issues being the survival of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and the Temporary Protected Status (TPS). Back in September, Federal courts ordered the administration to keep both programs, but the Supreme Court, now featuring two Trump appointees, could change everything. So what does this mean for DACA moving forward?

After President  Trump asked the Supreme Court to rule on DACA this week, a federal appeals court upheld a lower court’s temporary order preventing President Trump from ending DACA.

On Nov. 8, a U.S. appeals court ruled that President Trump’s decision to rescind the DACA program is unlawful. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals blocked Trump from ending DACA protections for undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children.

The 9th Circuit decision preserves the program for the moment but will require the administration to continue accepting DACA renewal applications. The court ruled that Trump’s decision to end DACA program was likely “arbitrary, capricious, or otherwise not in accordance with law.” The court also noted that “plaintiffs have stated a plausible equal protection claim,” showing plaintiffs’ allegations that “the rescission of DACA disproportionately impacts Latinos and individuals of Mexican heritage, who account for 93 percent of DACA recipients.”

With the Supreme Court in Trump’s favor, what does this mean for the future of DACA?

With the lower courts ruling in favor of DACA, the case will likely be argued in front of the Supreme Court. There have now been three different rulings in three different circuit courts against the administration. The administration is appealing all of the decisions. This is the first ruling at the appeals court level. The Trump administration wants to get the case on the justices’ agenda for the current term, which ends in June 2019.

There is only is so much Democrats can do when it comes to the legality of DACA now that they control the House. Democrats can mostly serve as a roadblock against Trump’s continued efforts to limit immigration. Issues like the current troop deployment to the southern border and supposed border wall will require funding which is something Democrats can control through the budgeting process.

The Supreme Court will likely take up the DACA case in Spring 2019.

The 9th Circuit ruling doesn’t change anything right away, but it’s important because it means that the Supreme Court is likely to take up DACA. With a five-justice conservative majority, it is entirely possible that the Supreme Court will overturn the 9th Circuit’s ruling and allow DACA to end. The DACA case would be scheduled for oral arguments sometime in early 2019 and a ruling could be handed down before the end of the Supreme Court’s term in June 2019.

Current recipients of DACA probably have a few more months to renew their application and work permits. After that there is uncertainty of what comes next for the 700,000 that are under the program.


READ: More Than 200 Migrant Children Are Still Separated From Their Families Awaiting Asylum Requests

Share this story by tapping that share button below!

Trump Administration Limit DACA Renewals, Blocks New Applications

Things That Matter

Trump Administration Limit DACA Renewals, Blocks New Applications

Ethan Miller / Getty Images

Update July 28, 2020: The Trump administration is intentionally limiting DACA recipients from renewing properly and blocking new applications. On June 18, the Supreme Court ruled that the Trump administration couldn’t end Deferred Actions for Childhood Arrivals the way it did but still could with a different tactic.

DACA recipients are facing another challenge created by the Trump administration.

After losing the battle at the Supreme Court, the Trump administration decided to create more blocks to hinder DACA recipients. The administration announced that DACA recipients will only be allowed to renew for one year instead of two. This is because according to the administration there is still a legal way to stop DACA. The administration is reviewing the SCOTUS decision to figure out the way to put an end to the program it has deemed to be illegal.

Recently, the Trump administration tried to put the program on hold but lost a legal battle in Maryland about that. A federal judge ruled that the Trump administration could not pause DACA and had to allow the program as it was originally intended. After that loss, the Trump administration announced a change that supersedes all orders and places DACA recipients back on the chopping block.

This quiet announcement comes after President Trump claimed to be working on an order that includes a pathway to citizenship.

“I’m going to do a big executive order. I have the power to do it as president and I’m going to make DACA a part of it,” Trump told José Díaz-Balart. “But, we put it in, and we’ll probably going to then be taking it out. We’re working out the legal complexities right now, but I’m going to be signing a very major immigration bill as an executive order, which Supreme Court now, because of the DACA decision, has given me the power to do that.”

Original: For three years, people with Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) status faced an uncertain future. The Trump administration was involved in legal battles after abruptly eliminating the program. For the third time this week, the Supreme Court has handed down a major loss for the Trump administration as they protected DACA from Trump’s attack.

The Supreme Court ruled that the Trump administration cannot end DACA.

The 5-4 decision is the third major legal loss for the Trump administration this week. SCOTUS ruled earlier this week that LGBTQ+ cannot be fired for their sexual orientation or gender identity. The court also refused to take up a case challenging California’s sanctuary state law letting the law stand.

The decision to temporarily protect DACA was a split decision with all of the conservative justices (Clarence Thomas, Brett Kavanaugh, Neil Gorsuch, and Samuel A. Alito Jr.) voting in favor of the Trump administration. Justice John Robert joined the liberal justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor, Stephen Breyer, and Elena Kagan saving the program from the Trump administration, for now.

In the ruling, written by Justice John Roberts, the court cites that the acting secretary of state violated the Administrative Procedures Act when ending the program. Basically, the announcement was lacking substance and did not address key parts of the policy. This made the announcement void of an argument supporting the dismantling of the program.

The ruling is only temporary relief for the hundreds of thousands of young people on DACA.

While the program has been spared, it is not completely saved. The decision from the Supreme Court today focuses on the way DACA was eliminated, not the actual elimination. This means that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) now has time to reevaluate its case against DACA to try again.

“The Court still does not resolve the question of DACA’s rescission,” Alito wrote in his dissent. “Instead, it tells the Department of Homeland Security to go back and try again.”

The conservative justices, while dissenting, did release statements that agreed with parts of the decision to block the Trump administration from eliminating DACA. The Trump administration first announced that they were ending DACA in 2017 with a press conference on the border led by Jeff Sessions.

Justice Sotomayor made her own headlines after calling the case a racist attack.

“I would not so readily dismiss the allegation that an executive decision disproportionately harms the same racial group that the President branded as less desirable mere months earlier,” Justice Sotomayor wrote in her concurrence of the decision.

Organizers and activists are giving credit to the DACA community for this victory.

The DACA community has led the charge to protect their status in the U.S. The movement has largely been done thanks to the work of DACA recipients fighting for their right to be here. For many, it is the only country they know after arriving to the U.S. without proper documentation when they were young children.

The president has tweeted his clear displeasure on the Supreme Court that he tried to stack in his favor by appointing two justices.

Both justice Kavanaugh and Gorsuch were Trump’s appointees. After three losses from the Supreme Court, President Trump followed his usual playbook and accused the Supreme Court of not liking him.

Now, it is time for Congress to act.

With DACA recipients temporarily spared sudden deportation, Congress must act and pass legislation protecting Dreamers from being deported. The Dream Act is one piece of legislation that offers DACA recipients a pathway to citizenship, something most Americans agree with.

READ: ICE Is Threatening To Reopen Deportation Proceedings Against All DACA Recipients Regardless Of DACA Status

ICE Is Threatening To Reopen Deportation Proceedings Against All DACA Recipients Regardless Of DACA Status

Things That Matter

ICE Is Threatening To Reopen Deportation Proceedings Against All DACA Recipients Regardless Of DACA Status

ImmigrationEquality / Instagram

DACA is supposed to protect those who qualify for the protected status from deportation proceedings. This is how the program has worked (or was intended to) since 2012, when President Obama enacted it via executive order. However, many DACA recipients are now facing the uncertain futures they had hoped to avoid by signing up for DACA in the first place as ICE has moved to reopen their deportation cases.

This has thrown people’s futures into doubt and cast a dark shadow over their status and the lives of their families.

ICE has moved to reopen long closed deportation cases against DREAMers.

In an escalation of its pursuit of undocumented immigrants, the Trump administration is moving to deport members of the very group that seemed until a few years ago the most protected: DACA recipients.

ICE has begun asking immigration courts to reopen administratively closed deportation cases against DACA recipients who continue to have no criminal record, or only a minor record. Immigration attorneys in Arizona confirmed at least 14 such cases being reopened since October, and according to a report by CNN, there are also cases which were recently reopened in Nevada, Missouri, California, and New York.

And that is just the beginning. ICE confirmed that all DACA recipients whose deportation cases have been administratively closed can expect to see them reopened. In an email, the agency stated that “re-calendaring of administratively closed cases is occurring nationwide and not isolated to a particular state or region.”Administratively closing a case removes it from the court calendar, in effect putting it on hold indefinitely. Immigration courts are part of the Department of Justice, unlike civil or criminal courts.

The move to reopen deportation cases against Dreamers comes as the US Supreme Court considers whether to let the Trump administration end the program.

During oral arguments in November, the U.S. Supreme Court’s conservative majority signaled Tuesday that it may let the Trump administration shut down the Obama-era program that granted temporary protection from deportation to roughly 700,000. Some justices made it clear that they were accepting the president’s assurances that ending DACA would not mean deporting Dreamers.

But immigration attorneys say the cases they are now seeing reopened show how ICE is preparing to deport DACA recipients if the Supreme Court ruling terminates the program.

It has long been the case that Dreamers who are charged with or convicted of a serious crime risk losing DACA status and being deported, since applicants had to have no felonies, significant misdemeanors, or three or more other misdemeanors to qualify for deferred action in the first place.

According to CNN, cases against DACA recipients began being reopened in October.

“It wasn’t until October that DHS (Department of Homeland Security) started to reopen the DACA cases,” Tucson attorney Jesse Evans-Schroeder wrote in an email to CNN. She said five of her DACA clients saw their cases reopened in October or November.

Before May 2018, when then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions barred the practice of administratively closing cases, immigration judges as a matter of routine administratively closed deportation cases against people who received DACA, since that status protected them from deportation.

In a statement provided by spokeswoman Paige Hughes, ICE said that it is required under Session’s May 2018 decision “to reopen approximately 350,000 administratively closed cases so they are litigated to completion,” and the applicant is ordered removed or obtains relief. ICE did not break down how many of the 350,000 administratively closed cases involve DACA recipients versus other people who are simply a low priority for deportation, but Hughes said there is no stipulation that would exempt DACA recipients.

Just this week, a DACA recipient in California was arrested by ICE while at her job at a Marriott Hotel.

According to her family and friends, ICE agents took Daniella Ramirez, 23, into custody at 5:30 a.m. Friday. 

According to NBC 4, Ramirez worked full time in the kitchen and as a receptionist at the hotel for the past two years. Ramirez came to the U.S. from Mexico with her sister when she was 10-years-old. She graduated from Azusa High School, and her DACA status expired. She told NBC 4 she neglected to renew it out of fear. She says she’d heard she’d be sent to jail if she did.

And a mother driving her 5-year-old to school was stopped, arrested, and held in jail despite having an active DACA status.

Paula Hincapie-Rendon was on her way to drop off her kid at school when an unmarked car started following her. Hours later, her parents were in an ICE detention center and her house had been burglarized.

But on the morning of May 8, agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement arrested her a block away from her house in Englewood. 

Hincapie-Rendon said she was taking her 5-year-old daughter to school when an unmarked car pulled her over. Two agents approached her car and told her to get out. She asked them to identify themselves three times, but they refused. On the fourth try, they answered.

Hincapie-Rendon asked if she could take her daughter back to the house and leave her with her parents. The agents obliged, with one caveat — they would be driving her car while she sat in their van, handcuffed.

Once at the house, agents found Hincapie-Rendon’s dad, Carlos Hincapie, leaving for work. They arrested him on the spot. Agents then went into the house and arrested Hincapie-Rendon’s mom, Betty Rendon, a Lutheran minister who was set to start her doctorate at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago in June. Agents also arrested Hincapie’s cousin, who was staying with the family.

The agents drove the family to ICE’s field office in the Loop. The agency released Hincapie-Rendon that same afternoon under an order of supervision.