US Supreme Court DACA ruling: Michigan Dreamers celebrate

Young immigrants in Michigan with the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program cheered Thursday’s Supreme Court decision.
“It’s a great day,” said Jose Franco, 32, of Detroit. “I don’t think anyone expected this decision. We were all expecting the worst. … This is a relief for many.”
The ruling means that Franco and thousands of other DACA recipients in Michigan can legally work and study in the U.S. without fear of deportation. They also are more able to get driver’s licenses.
Immigrant advocates cautioned that the ruling does not rule out future moves by President Donald Trump to end DACA.
Chief Justice John Roberts wrote in the 5-4 decision: “We do not decide whether DACA or its rescission are sound policies. … We address only whether the agency complied with the procedural requirement that it provide a reasoned explanation for its action.”
Started eight years ago under the administration of former President Barack Obama, the DACA program allows the children of undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. when young to stay here legally. The Trump administration said in 2017 it would end the program, calling Obama’s move unconstitutional.
“People got discouraged,” Franco said.
In Michigan, there are an estimated 5,270 active DACA immigrant recipients, while DACA has been granted to almost 20,000 immigrants in Michigan since 2012, according to the American Immigration Council. Recipients are approved for two-year periods, after which their status must be renewed again by immigration authorities.
Out of the 20,000 recipients, some may have not renewed, moved away from Michigan, or later failed to qualify. As of 2019, 41% of immigrants in Michigan who are eligible have applied for DACA.
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Born in Mexico in 1987, Franco was brought the U.S. at the age of 3 by his parents, who were undocumented. He founded the group One Michigan for Immigrant Rights to fight for the rights of DACA recipients and other immigrants.
Franco, who works in the IT industry, said the decision means DACA recipients can plan for their future without worrying about whether their legal status is in jeopardy.
Juan Gonzalez, 27, a DACA recipient who grew up in Detroit and Lincoln Park after he was brought to the U.S. from Mexico as a child, also cheered Thursday’s ruling.
“It’s a huge sense of relief,” Gonzalez said. “I was thrilled. It’s definitely a good day.”
Gonzalez said the decision means he will be able to continue studying in the U.S. and work at internships. He’s entering law school this fall at Loyola University in Chicago. One of the reasons he chose to study in Illinois was because they have more liberal policies for immigrants, he said.
Gonzalez and others cautioned that this decision may be temporary since the ruling was about the technical merits, not the substance of DACA. That means the Trump administration could try again to end DACA using a different legal rationale.
Gonzalez and others said advocates still need to mobilize and protest in favor of immigrants rights to ensure that DACA is preserved.
“There is much to celebrate, but it is not a permanent solution,” said Rebeca Ontiveros-Chavez, staff attorney at the Michigan Immigrants Rights Council. “More work needs to be done to give the permanent protection that DACA recipients and our undocumented community need. We will continue to work for a just and inclusive immigration system.”
Nationally, there are 652,880 active DACA recipients, said the American Immigration Council. Since 2012, DACA has been granted to more than 2.5 million immigrants.
Trump blasted the court’s ruling, writing on Twitter: “These horrible & politically charged decisions coming out of the Supreme Court are shotgun blasts into the face of people that are proud to call themselves Republicans or Conservatives. We need more Justices or we will lose our 2nd Amendment & everything else. …”
Obama, who started the DACA program, praised the decision, writing on Twitter: “Eight years ago this week, we protected young people who were raised as part of our American family from deportation. Today, I’m happy for them, their families, and all of us. We may look different and come from everywhere, but what makes us American are our shared ideals…”
State Attorney General Dana Nessel also praised the decision in a statement: “This is an important victory for the thousands of Dreamers who call Michigan home. For now, they can breathe a little easier without the threat of deportation from the only life they know, which is a life in America.”
Dreamers refers to the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act, Congressional legislation that Democrats have been pushing to get passed to help DACA recipients stay permanently.
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