(BROOKLYN, New York): CARIBBEAN TIMES NEWS can report that the U.S. Supreme Court took no action on the Trump administration’s plans to kill an Obama era program that shields some 700,000 young undocumented immigrants from mandatory deportation. What the court’s decision means by refusing to the administration’s challenge in its current term, which ends in June is that form these so-called DACA “dreamers” there is now a slight reprieve, even though the uncertainty and anxiety still remains. The justices’ next private conference to consider petitions seeking review is scheduled for February 15. However, even if the court had agreed to hear the case then, it still would not be argued until after the next term starts in October.
The court’s move has left the program in place – for the time being. And it also denied negotiating leverage to President Trump, who has said he wanted to use a Supreme Court victory in this particular case in negotiations with Democrats over immigration issues. He tied to kill of the program in his first year in office deeming it unconstitutional and an abuse of executive powers in his quest to undo most of former President Barack Obama’s liberal and progressive policies, some achieved through presidential executive orders.
President Trump’s hardline immigration positions and his rush to please neoconservatives in the Republican Party and his Right Wing base was also aimed at reviving the threat of deportation for immigrants who had been brought to the United States illegally as young children. But federal judges have ordered the administration to maintain major pieces of the program, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, while legal challenges move forward, notably by requiring the administration to allow people enrolled in it to renew their protected status.
Back in November 2018, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, in San Francisco, deal the Administration a serious blow in this regard by ruling against it. The ruling noted that presidents have broad powers to alter the policies of earlier/previous administrations but said that the legal rationale offered by the the president did not withstand scrutiny. The court pointedly questioned “the cruelty and wastefulness of deporting productive young people to countries with which they have no ties.”
In terse response President Trump angrily criticized that ruling and has said he would be vindicated in the Supreme Court. He also predicted that a Supreme Court victory would strengthen his hand in negotiations with Democratic lawmakers over looming immigration issues. “I think it’s going to be overturned in the United States Supreme Court, and I think it’s going to be overwhelmingly overturned,” President Trump boasted. Adding, “So if we win that case — and I say this for all to hear — we’ll be easily able to make a deal on DACA and the wall as a combination.”
The Trump Administration has consistently argued that the DACA program, put in place by President Obama, was an unconstitutional exercise of executive power and authority, relying on a ruling from the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, in New Orleans, concerning a related program. However, the Ninth Circuit’s ruling said that the two programs differed in important ways and thus hamstringing the Administration’s argument. The appeals court affirmed a nationwide injunction ordering the government to retain major elements of the Obama program while the case moved forward.
President Trump has taken wildly inconsistent positions on the DACA program. Even as he tried to end it, he called upon Congress to give legal status and an eventual path to citizenship to the young immigrants, who are sometimes called “dreamers.” This has angered the Right Wing in his party and Republicans who then controlled all three branches of government balked at his ideas fearing major backlashes back home. More recently, he offered to extend the program for three years, in exchange for concessions on a border wall. Democrats has rejected his DACA and TPS (Temporary Protected Status for a certain class of immigrants) temporary fixes noting that President Trump ended TPS, gutted DACA, and left millions in floating in limbo with threats of mass deportation, and now he wants to suddenly reinstate and offer a temporary fix just to get his $5 billion for this border wall.
For now, the SCOTUS’s decision not to hear the case means that all of the Obama era executive order that set up the program – including the right to work and renew work permits, and protection from deportation – will remain in place. It also puts a stay on removal proceedings for TPS immigrants that also allows them to stay and work in the United States. This is great news for the thousands of TPS affected Haitians now living in Brooklyn since the devastating earthquake ravaged this Caribbean nation in 2010.
“I applaud the Supreme Court’s action that’s a rebuke to the draconian anti-immigrant policies of the Trump Administration. However, Democrats in Congress must work for a permanent fix for this situation. The president and his supporters believe that only immigrants from Europe matter and that those that come from, in the president’s own words “sh*thole countries” are not welcomed here. It’s the reason for separating little Black and brown kids from their mothers on the southern border and the wall is a symbol of the deeply racist immigration policies that’s in place here. While the SCOTUS punted on this issue, I believe that strong community pressure can result in a very favorable outcome,” said Haitian community leader and political activist Mercedes Narcisse.