Will Donald Trump Be Able to End DACA? Decision Heads to Supreme Court

On Tuesday, Dreamers across the country will wake up to a day of deliberations that could set the course for their futures in the United States.

For the better part of a decade, undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children have been able to live and work in the U.S. under the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

Under President Donald Trump, however, the program's future has hung in limbo after the U.S. leader's bid to end the program was blocked by the courts, leaving Dreamers' fates shrouded in uncertainty.

The Supreme Court could be set to change that as justices prepare to deliberate over whether federal courts should have been able to block the Trump administration's decision—and whether Trump had the legal right to end the program in the first place on Tuesday.

Since the president's bid to end DACA was blocked, beneficiaries of the program have been allowed to renew their status, but would-be applicants have not been able to register.

For New York City resident Carolina Fung Feng, a plaintiff in the case, the DACA program has meant being able to stay in the U.S. with her family and build a future helping adult learners earn their high school equivalency diplomas after graduating from Hunter College.

"If the supreme court rules against this case, I would lose my job. I would be exposed to deportation. I'd be separated from my family here in New York and, also, I would lose the ability to be independent," Feng told Newsweek.

"Right now, I live on my own with my younger brother, so if they were to eliminate the DACA program permanently I wouldn't be able to help my brother pay for the house," she said.

While her brother is a U.S. citizen, Feng is not and without the DACA program, she could face deportation to Costa Rica, a country that she left when she was 12-years-old.

"I'm 30 years old now and everything that is under my name, I have in New York," she said.

Ultimately, Feng said she cannot understand why the Trump administration would want to see the U.S. lose a population that has contribute to the country's economy as well as its local communities.

"We contribute to this economy. We haven't done anything wrong," she said. "We're just human beings who want to live a better life and we want to protect our families and do the best we can so they can have a better life."

Trudy Rebert, a staff attorney with the National Immigration Law Center, which is representing the plaintiffs in one of the DACA cases going before the court, said she felt grateful for the "huge outpouring of support that people have expressed" at rallies in support of the DACA program.

However, she said that if the Supreme Court rules in the Trump administration's favor, the "lives of young people" could be at stake.

"Close to 800,000 young people have gotten DACA at some point along the way, but I think that's a small number of the folks that could be affected by the courts decision," she said, particularly when you consider that many recipients serve their communities as "teachers, doctors" and in other roles.

In a Twitter statement, Sherrilyn Ifill, the president and director-counsel of the NAACP's Legal Defense and Educational Fund, said that while "the decision in this case could have catastrophic consequences for [more than] 700,000 immigrants brought to this country as children, this case is of monumental importance for every person in this country."

Ifill said Americans must "fully understand the scope" of the Trump administration's argument in the case.

"They contend that even if the decision to rescind DACA was motivated by racial [discrimination]...and we contend that it was—it is not subject to [judicial] review," she explained. "This is the power the Trump admin seeks in the DACA case—the power to adopt racist [immigration] policies with impunity."

DACA
Demonstrators arrive in front of the U.S. Supreme Court during a march for DACA and Temporary Protected Status (TPS) on November 10, 2019 in Washington D.C. The Supreme Court is set to hear oral arguments regarding termination of the DACA policy on November 12. JOSE LUIS MAGANA/AFP via Getty

Brad Smith, the president of Microsoft and Christopher L. Eisgruber, the president of Princeton University, have also lent their weight to the fight, with the two goliaths joining Dreamer María Perales Sánchez in challenging the federal government's bid to end the DACA program.

In a joint opinion piece published by TIME magazine on Sunday, the two presidents said they had "seen firsthand how participants in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program contribute to our institutions and our country."

"Standing up for DACA students is not only the right thing to do morally, it is also the right thing to do competitively," they said.

"Students like Maria, who graduated in 2018, and employees like the more than 60 Dreamers at Microsoft, should be allowed to work, study and thrive in the United States, not be forced to leave the only country they know as home," Smith and Eisgruber asserted.

"November 12 will be an important chapter in this journey. When Dreamers gather on the steps of the Supreme Court, we will be standing with them to give voice to this vital issue," they said.

Will Donald Trump Be Able to End DACA? Decision Heads to Supreme Court | U.S.