Things That Matter

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

Sean Davis / Flickr

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

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DACA Advocates Shut Down Joe Biden At Last Night’s Democratic Debate, Here’s The Message They Delivered Loud And Clear

Things That Matter

DACA Advocates Shut Down Joe Biden At Last Night’s Democratic Debate, Here’s The Message They Delivered Loud And Clear

ABC News / YouTube

Last night, NBC hosted the Democratic Debates, where presidential candidates hashed out their policy differences and tried to win over the American people. Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Julian Castro, Kamala Harris, Beto O’Rourke, Pete Buttigieg, Andrew Yang, and Amy Klobuchar were the only candidates to make it to the third debate as the primary narrows down. 

With Univision’s Jorge Ramos as moderator, Latinx issues and voices were represented and centered for once. However, the evening was not without controversy with difficult immigration conversations, crashing protestors, and with candidates like Joe Biden and Julian Castro getting into tense exchanges. 

I don’t know about you, but I was proud to be Latinx last night, though. 

DACA Advocates crash the Democratic Debate.

If you watched the debates last night, you probably remember this moment. It was nearly two and half hours into the Democratic Debate when Joe Biden, who was already having a rough night, was asked a question about professional setbacks, only to be interrupted by a group of protestors. It was a bit strange. Biden tries to speak, but the protestors start chanting. If you were watching it live, at the time it was unclear who, what, or why the protestors were there. 

“We’re going to clear the protesters,” moderator George Stephanopoulos said as the chants began. “We’re sorry.”

The candidates remained on stage in silence and waited patiently. It was an uncomfortable moment, and the candidates chose not to engage. It was only after the fact that the protestors were reportedly DACA advocates. What they were chanting is still unconfirmed.

How did protestors get in? 

However, I do have some professional experience in this arena that begs more questions. This summer I was a part of a small organization called She The People, together we organized the first-ever presidential forum for women of color. We also partnered with NBC, who hosted the debates last night, and the HBCU Texas Southern University, which held the debates last night. 

The candidates who attended were Castro, Harris, Warren, Booker, Gabbard, Sanders, O’Rourke, and Klobuchar (Biden announced his candidacy literally the next day). I am sharing this because I know the level of security that is necessary to host an event like this at TSU, in fact, our forum had protestors too, however they didn’t manage to get in. What went wrong? 

Joe Biden quizzed on immigration by Jorge Ramos

Seasoned Mexican American journalist Jorge Ramos moderated on behalf of Univision. Homeboy did not come to let candidates get off easy on Latinx issues. 

“Are you prepared to say tonight that you and President Obama made a mistake about deportations? Why should Latinos trust you?” Ramos asked Biden. 

The Obama administration deported 3 million immigrants, more than any other administration in history. This is worthy of examination and criticism — but the treatment of those immigrants was nowhere near the utter cruelty compared to the Trump administration. Nevertheless, both policies are bad for Latinxs. 

Biden, who is under fire for seeming incoherent last night, had a long meandering response. 

“We didn’t lock people up in cages. We didn’t separate families. We didn’t do all of those things, number one,” he said.

 “Number two — number two, by the time— this is a president who came along with the DACA program. No one had ever done that before. This is the president that sent legislation to the desk saying he wants to find a pathway for the 11 million undocumented in the United States of America. This is a president who’s done a great deal. So I’m proud to have served with him.”

Julian Castro Wants Answers From Biden

Biden was repeatedly called out by Julian Castro for taking credit for Obama’s wins and disavowing Obama’s losses. Castro pointed out inconsistencies in Biden’s health plan.

“If you want Medicare, if you lose the job from your insurance — from your employer, you automatically can buy into this. You don’t have — no pre-existing condition can stop you from buying in,” Biden said. 

Castro said the difference between his and Biden’s plan was that you didn’t have to buy or opt-in to his, enrollment would be automatic. Then Biden claimed Americans wouldn’t have to buy or opt-in in after literally just saying they did. 

“Are you forgetting what you said two minutes ago? Are you forgetting already what you said just two minutes ago? I mean, I can’t believe that you said two minutes ago that they had to buy in and now you’re saying they don’t have to buy in. You’re forgetting that,” Castro said before dropping the mic with, ” I’m fulfilling the legacy of Barack Obama, and you’re not.”

What’s notable from Ramos, Castro, and the protestors last night is becoming increasingly clear: Latinxs in America are fed up and we’re speaking to truth to power. 

The Bernie Sanders Campaign Did The Right Thing By Letting DACA Recipients Write His Immigration Policy

Things That Matter

The Bernie Sanders Campaign Did The Right Thing By Letting DACA Recipients Write His Immigration Policy

Ethan Miller / Getty Images

Democratic candidates are in full spring when it comes to releasing their policies and platforms on issues like gun control, climate change and health care, ahead of the 2020 election. One of the most divisive issues in the country right now is immigration and the legal battle over DACA. 

Many Democratic candidates have already released immigration policy plans that would allow  Dreamers, undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. illegally by their guardians, a legal pathway to citizenship.  Just this week, we got a preview of what Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and his campaign team will be rolling in terms of immigration policy. 

Here’s what we know so far about the Sanders immigration plan that will be released “soon.”

In an interview with Hill TV, Belén Sisa, the campaign press secretary, made an announcement that the senator’s 2020 campaign will be releasing an immigration plan in the near future. The policy will be shaped by herself and two other staffers who are undocumented immigrants and recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. 

“We know that we can do better and I think that’s the greatest part of all, is that we have people who are experiencing these struggles that are taking part in that plan,” Sisa told Hill TV about the staffers and people outside the organization that are having input on the plan. 

Sisa, who is a DACA recipient, has been vocal about the expired program and other issues important to the immigrant community. She graduated from Arizona State University in 2018 where she was involved in multiple protests in favor of DACA and abolishing Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). 

It’s this commitment and well-documented track record in sticking up for immigrant rights from campaign staffers that Sisa says makes the Sanders campaign stand out from other candidates. 

Credit: @belensisaw / Twitter

According to Sisa, the campaign is going above and beyond when it comes to recruiting volunteers and senior-level staffers that come from the Latino community in the U.S. These recruitment efforts are being conducted through Spanish webinars for those people who are interested in being part of the campaign but can’t speak English. 

“It’s not just about ads, it’s not just about trying to knock on their door right before the primary,” Sisa said. “It’s about putting people who look like them on the campaign, it’s about making them feel like they’re capable.”

While we might not know too much about the entire Sanders’ immigration policy plan, a campaign page for the senator does give some clues. The page indicates that Sanders would grant amnesty to DACA recipients. His campaign would also look to create “a humane policy for those seeking asylum.” 

“Today, we say to the American people that instead of demonizing the undocumented immigrants in this country, we’re going to pass comprehensive immigration reform and provide a path toward citizenship. We’re going to provide legal status to the 1.8 million young people eligible for the DACA program and develop a humane border policy for those who seek asylum. No more snatching babies from the arms of their mothers.” the page reads.

Sanders would also plan to close down all migrant holding centers because of the “barbaric practice of family separation and detention of children in cages.” He also says that proper “independent oversight of relevant agencies within DHS” would be implemented. 

As we await the Sanders campaign immigration plan, we are also looking toward this fall where the Supreme Court is set to decide the future of DACA. 

Credit: @realdonaldtrump / Twitter

The Supreme Court is set to hear arguments this fall that will effectively decide the future of the Obama-era program. The Trump administration has made the argument that the program is unlawful and has questioned the overall legality of it.  

On Friday morning, President Trump tweeted about DACA and the pending case with the Supreme Court that will surely have an effect on the 2020 election. He hinted that if the Supreme Court does indeed end the program, a bipartisan deal would be made between Democrats and Republicans.  

“DACA will be going before the Supreme Court. It is a document that even President Obama didn’t feel he had the legal right to sign – he signed it anyway! Rest assured that if the SC does what all say it must, based on the law, a bipartisan deal will be made to the benefit of all!” Trump tweeted

As more polices are rolled out by presidential candidates, we can only wait and see what unfolds between now and November when it comes to DACA and immigration.  

READ: Arizona’s Republican Governor Applauds New Rule Giving DACA Students Discount On College Tuition