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Supreme Court Gives Reprieve to DACA Recipients – But for How Long?

The U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear a case on the DACA program, giving Congress more time to find a solution. (Phil Roeder/Flickr)
The U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear a case on the DACA program, giving Congress more time to find a solution. (Phil Roeder/Flickr)
February 27, 2018

SEATTLE – The Supreme Court has rejected the Trump administration's request to bypass a lower court and hear a case on the fate of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

The decision gives a reprieve to more than 700,000 recipients of DACA, including 19,000 in Washington state who were brought to the country illegally as children. The federal government had planned to end the program next Monday, but a federal judge placed an injunction on that decision in January.

Rich Stolz, executive director of the Seattle-based immigrants'-rights advocacy group OneAmerica, says while this allows DACA beneficiaries to breathe a sigh of relief, it's still up to Congress to find a long-term fix.

"If there's no solution presented by Congress, the number of people who fall into undocumented status will continue to grow and more and more families face the prospect of being torn apart even though they had had DACA in the past," he warns.

So far, fixes for DACA recipients have failed in Congress. The case will be heard by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in California. The Supreme Court has rarely granted requests to bypass a lower court and hear a case. According to the federal government, the program was put in place without the proper legal authority.

Stolz says people now have the opportunity to evaluate whether they should renew their DACA status.

"If they can renew, it probably makes sense to, given the threat of deportation and how active Immigration and Customs Enforcement is right now," he says. "But I think a lot of folks are still concerned about how the administration really will respond to renewal requests. We also understand they're making it more difficult for renewal applications to be accepted."

Stolz says there also have been concerns about the federal government using people's DACA information against them down the road. He advises people to consult with their lawyers about the best course of action if they have that opportunity. He adds there is bipartisan support for keeping the program in place.

Eric Tegethoff, Public News Service - WA