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DACA: What is DACA and how did the Supreme Court vote to block Trump?

DACA, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, was introduced by Obama in 2012 and protects young immigrants from deportation from the United States.

DACA: What is DACA and how did the Supreme Court vote to block Trump?
SANDY HUFFAKER AFP

On Thursday, the Supreme Court rejected Donald Trump’s attempts to put an end to DACA. In a 5-4 decision, the court ruled Trump’s administration had violated a law by implementing its policy to end the Dreams of thousands of undocumented immigrants.

The ruling emphasises that the administration failed to provide an adequate reason to justify ending the DACA program. "We do not decide whether DACA or its rescission are sound policies," Chief Justice John Roberts wrote in the majority opinion. "'The wisdom' of those decisions 'is none of our concern.' We address only whether the agency complied with the procedural requirement that it provide a reasoned explanation for its action."

Rally for "Justice Everywhere" to celebrate the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling to disallow the rescinding of the DACA program, in San DiegoA person wearing a shirt with a message takes part in a rally for "Justice Everywhere" to celebrate the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling to disallow the rescinding of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, in San Diego, California, U.S., June 18, 2020. REUTERS/Mike Blake

What is DACA?

DACA — Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals — protects 700,000 young immigrants from deportation from the United States. It was introduced by Barack Obama in 2012 to protect kids who were brought to the United States and have no citizenship or residency status in the country.

Permission to remain in the country is given two years at a time and it can be renewed. It also offers young dreamers the chance to work, get health insurance from employers and other benefits. Many of these children were brought to the US at such a young age that they know no other home. With the benefits offered by the DACA program, illegal immigrants can also pursue higher education and drivers’ licenses, making their stay in the country easier.

The program has been hailed for providing paths of progress to young immigrants instead of driving them underground and into lives lived outside of the law. On average, people shielded by DACA are now in their mid-20s; the oldest are in their late 30s according to the New York Times.

Trump's promise to end DACA

Trump had promised to ‘immediately terminate’ the program during his presidential campaign. As Politico explain, however, this recent setback just means the president could start again in an effort to dismantle the program. 

“If Donald Trump wins in November, he will end DACA," said Tom Perez, chairman of the Democratic National Committee. "The future of Dreamers depends 100 percent on the outcome of the November election.”

Democrats will make the issue central to their campaign promises and plans. Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee, has pledged to send a related bill to Congress if he wins the presidency this fall.

This comes at a pivotal time in the US’ history. The Black Lives Matters movement has already woken up a massive swath of voters to the need for change in the country. Some Republicans are urging Trump to relax on his desire to end the program for fear of further alienating voters who could decide the election in November.