Supreme Court hands Dreamers a reprieve from deportations that could have started next week
February 26, 2018
WASHINGTON — DACA Dreamers can't be deported starting next week, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled Monday, Feb. 26.
The high court put the brakes on a federal proposal, to start as early as the March 8 deadline, that could have led to federal authorities deporting people brought to the United States illegally as children. The justices spent two days deliberating and finally denied a Trump Administration request for the Supreme Court to take the case before it works its way through federal appeals courts.
David R. Schambach, an immigration attorney based in Glenwood Springs, said Monday's ruling was about what he expected.
"The Trump administration tried to jump from the 9th Circuit Court in Northern California to the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court is not one to step into the middle before it is reviewed by a lower court," Schambach said.
It's good news for Dreamers, but they're still in limbo, said Amy Novak, an Avon immigration attorney.
"If the Supreme Court can see no reason to step in, they're not going to," Novak said.
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It's one more chance for Dreamers to take a breath, said Bratzo Horruitiner, with the Vail Valley Foundation's YouthPower365.
"Dreamers are still swimming and still breathing. But they still need a path, a solution," Horruitiner said.
In June 2012, President Barack Obama created the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program through an executive order. Whether or not it comprised law making by the executive branch, and would therefore be illegal, was central to President Donald Trump's executive order on Sept. 5, 2017, to dismantle it.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security began phasing out the DACA program, which gave a two-year deportation reprieve to undocumented immigrants who came to the United States as children.
The federal government immediately stopped accepting new requests for DACA. At the same time, Trump challenged Congress to make immigration reforms, before work permits begin to expire for those who were granted DACA. Congress has failed to do that.
Between 2012 and early 2017, the federal government approved nearly 800,000 DACA requests, as well as hundreds of thousands of requests to renew upon expiration.
That 9th Circuit Court ruling put the DACA program back the way it was before Trump's executive order to dismantle it.
Rather than appeal the 9th Circuit's decision to the U.S. Court of Appeals, the Trump Administration tried to leapfrog to the Supreme Court. Justice Department spokesman Kevin O'Malley acknowledged Monday that the strategy was a longshot.
"While we were hopeful for a different outcome, the Supreme Court very rarely grants certiorari before judgment, though in our view it was warranted for the extraordinary injunction requiring the Department of Homeland Security to maintain DACA," O'Malley said in a statement.
Schambach said it gets the media stirring but doesn't really change anything substantive about the DACA program.
On the other hand, Monday's ruling might change the stress levels of DACA recipients, at least for a while, Horruitiner said.
"It's a lot of stress. Kids don't know what to do. They don't know what is going to happen. Now they can breathe for a little bit." Horruitiner said.
In the meantime, Eagle County Schools, Colorado Mountain College and the Vail Valley Foundation are encouraging Dreamers to push forward with their educations, Horruitiner said.
"Keep doing the right thing. Keep working hard and pursuing your education. No matter where you end up, nobody can take what you know," Horruitiner said.
Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 and email@example.com.