The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday rejected the Trump administration’s attempt to dissolve the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, preserving a policy that allows immigrants who came to the U.S. as children to remain in the country to work and study.
The decision is a victory for Dreamers, as they are called, and for Microsoft, one of the plaintiffs who sued the federal government over its effort to rescind DACA.
Microsoft President Brad Smith and a handful of other employees attended the Supreme Court hearing on the case last fall. About 62 Microsoft employees are Dreamers. The program has allowed about 800,000 young immigrants to work and receive an education in the U.S. since President Barack Obama created it in 2012.
Today’s #SCOTUS decision is a victory for the country. Nearly 700,000 law-abiding DACA registrants are helping restart the economy & fight COVID-19 – including 30,000+ in healthcare. This decision creates an opportunity for the WH & Congress to find a lasting bipartisan approach.
— Brad Smith (@BradSmi) June 18, 2020
The 5-4 decision comes from one of the most conservative Supreme Court benches in history, including two appointees by President Donald Trump. The court did not rule on the merits of the DACA program itself but instead rejected the reasons and procedure that the Trump administration used to rescind it.
The Department of Homeland Security “failed to consider the conspicuous issues of whether to retain forbearance and what if anything to do about the hardship to DACA recipients,” according to the ruling. “That dual failure raises doubts about whether the agency appreciated the scope of its discretion or exercised that discretion in a reasonable manner.”
In 2017, Trump announced he would let DACA expire the following year. The decision prompted a bevy of lawsuits from states, civil rights groups, and DACA recipients. Microsoft was the only corporation to sue the Trump administration over DACA.
Lower courts blocked the Trump administration’s efforts to wind down DACA and federal judges ordered the government to continue accepting renewals for the program. The Supreme Court decision requires the Trump administration to provide lower courts with a stronger justification for rescinding DACA, an unlikely maneuver before the November election.
“I think we, as a company, made the right decision to bring this case,” Smith said following the hearing last fall. “I’m proud of the fact that we were ready to lead even when others in the business community were not quite ready to follow.”
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