The U.S. Supreme Court blocked the Trump administration's attempt to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, also known as DACA, on Thursday.
With a 5-4 vote, DACA — which helps about 700,000 recipients — will stand for now.
Several groups of plaintiffs challenged the decision of Elaine Duke, former Department of Homeland Security Secretary, to rescind the program as “arbitrary and capricious.”
Chief Justice John Roberts delivered the opinion of the court.
“The dispute before the court is not whether DHS may rescind DACA. All parties agree that it may. The dispute is instead primarily about the procedure the agency followed in doing so,” Roberts said.
The Obama administration created DACA in 2012 to protect some unauthorized immigrants from deportation with two-year renewable work permits. The Trump administration halted the DACA program in September 2017.
President Donald Trump tweeted Thursday that while the Supreme Court ruling was “a highly political one, and seemingly not based on the law,” it gives the president “far more power than ever anticipated.”
In a separate tweet Thursday, Trump stated he asks for “a legal solution on DACA, not a political one, consistent with the rule of law,” and if the Supreme Court is not willing to give one, the process will have to start all over again.
Antonio Arellano, Jolt Action interim executive director, released a statement Thursday declaring the Supreme Court’s ruling as “a historic victory for immigrant youth across the United States.”
Founded in 2016, Jolt Action is a progressive civic engagement organization focused on building the political power and influence of young Latinos in Texas.
Arellano said DACA recipients make America stronger and deserve to thrive in the country they call home.
According to the American Immigration Council, one in six Texas residents is an immigrant, while another one in six residents is a native-born U.S. citizen with at least one immigrant parent.
“Texas is home to the second-largest population of DACA recipients in the United States,” Arellano stated. “They are our family, friends, and neighbors. Many are currently essential workers, and some are risking their lives in the medical field to protect Americans from COVID-19.”
Alumnus Celso Esparza said he felt that the ruling did justice to recipients as those in the program have given back to their communities and the government.
Esparza first received DACA when he graduated high school in 2014 and the program helped him stay on track for his future. He came to the U.S. from Mexico at 5 years old.
Architecture senior Daniel Escobar said DACA is a pretty sensitive subject for recipients that don’t know whether the program will be taken away.
“Speaking about DACA kind of puts your immigration status out there,” Escobar said. “It’s hard to determine how someone sees you once they know you’re illegal.”
Escobar first applied for DACA when it was introduced in 2012. The program helped him get his first job right after high school, his driver’s license and attend college.
He came to the U.S. from Mexico at 3 years old and said he has no memories of the country besides what his parents have told him.
“I really hope we get a good set path to citizenship,” Escobar said.