US Supreme Court Ruling Called Win for DACA Recipients and Employers
On Thursday, June 18, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a 5-4 decision in Department of Homeland Security v. Regents of the University of California.
The Court’s decision blocking the Trump administration’s efforts to rescind Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) provides some certainty for both employees benefiting from the program and for their employers. But the decision leaves the door open for a president to try again to rescind the program.
Elaine C. Young, Shareholder at Kirton McConkie in Salt Lake City, Utah, says the administration could try again to end the program by explaining more clearly its purposes in doing so, but that would take time.
“There is probably not enough time to go through the formal process of eliminating DACA during President Trump’s first term, so the future of DACA may be decided by the election,” Young says. “If Democrats controlled both houses of Congress and a Democrat is in the White House, relief for Dreamers could come in the form of a continuing DACA program, or comprehensive immigration reform that includes a solution for Dreamers, like a path to permanent residence or citizenship.”
So, although the decision is a big relief for employers that thought they would lose their DACA employees this summer, only legislation can provide complete relief for Dreamers, Young says. “Employers should breathe a sigh of relief for now but be aware the rules may still change and that their employees may still be nervous about that,” Young says. She advises employers that want to voice their support for DACA or Dreamers to contact their congressional delegations and advocate for immigration reform legislation, not just extended executive orders.
While Americans’ views on immigration vary, the Pew Research Center survey conducted in June 2020 found that 74% of Americans favor a path to permanent residence for those who entered the United States illegally as children—some of whom are eligible for DACA. Still, the Court’s decision was not about whether DACA is sound policy. The Court concluded that the Department of Homeland Security’s rescission of DACA was done in an arbitrary and capricious manner.
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