Public Comment: Supreme Court hears appeal challenging termination of DACA

November 19, 2019

San Francisco, CA — Last week, the Supreme Court of the United States of America heard an appeal challenging three federal court decisions that held that the government’s attempt to terminate the DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) program was unlawful. OneJustice unequivocally stands beside those with DACA – as well as persons with temporary protected status (TPS), Dreamers, and immigrant communities across the country.

DACA recipients are students, colleagues, and community members. They are a part of our schools, hospitals, and our businesses. Across the state and the country DACA recipients have built lives in our communities. They are threads in the fabric that ties us all together.  

The Department of Homeland Security’s abrupt attempt to terminate the DACA program in September 2017 put the immigration status of more than 700,000 people in question, causing immediate chaos, uncertainty, and fear.  Nearly every one of these DACA recipients would lose their work authorizations and other resources they have worked hard to acquire. California is home to over 188,000 people with DACA status, and they are the parents of almost 73,000 children born in the United States. The end of the program would create serious harm for hundreds of thousands of people who came forward to be counted and to contribute to this nation, on their dependents, and on the legal services organizations that work tirelessly to serve this community.

OneJustice, along with 46 other legal aid organizations, is proud to be part of an amicus (or “friend of the court” brief) advocating that the Supreme Court should affirm the underlying decisions and also hold that administration’s termination of the DACA program was illegal. We are grateful to the law firm Cooley LLP for representing us on a pro bono basis in this case. 

The Supreme Court has made clear that, under the Administrative Procedure Act (“APA”), when an administrative agency changes policy it must provide an explanation for the change that is cogent and consistent. It must also consider the interests of those who have relied on the policy in place.  Where, as here, an agency does neither, then that decision is arbitrary and capricious – and therefore, unlawful. Hundreds of thousands of DACA recipients have no choice other than to rely upon the continuation of DACA. It is OneJustice’s position that the Government’s failure to even consider these foreseeable and significant consequences of its change in policy renders the attempt to terminate the program unlawful. If the government wants to terminate the DACA program, the public deserves—and the law requires—that the government explain its decision clearly and truthfully so that it can be held accountable for its actions.  

The Supreme Court may issue its decision in the DACA case as early as January 2020, but more likely in May or June of next year. For the time being, individuals that have DACA status already may continue to renew their status, and OneJustice will continue to hold DACA renewal clinics across the state. To learn more about these clinics, reach out to us in Northern California and Southern California

For this and other immigration policy updates and new volunteer and training opportunities across California, become a part of the Immigration Pro Bono Network!