By: Sean Hemmersmeier
Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced that he is supportive of the recent court decision to rule against President Trump’s movement to ban the DACA program.
DACA, or the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, has been in place since 2012. It allows for children who came to America illegally to receive a renewable 2-year deferred deportation action permit. DACA currently covers approximately 700,000 people living the U.S. and was put in place under the Obama administration. Illinois currently has around 69,000 DACA recipients living in the state, according to the Migration Policy Institute. Illinois ranks 5th in total number of recipients of DACA behind California, Texas, New York, and Florida.
The three judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit of Appeals unanimously ruled to continue to keep in place the injunction that blocks Trump’s decision to phase out the DACA protections.
Trump originally paired down the DACA program in 2017 by ruling that no new applicants could apply to join and no existing permits would be renewed, which would have effectively shut down the program.
The 9th court ruling marked a victory for DACA and its recipients, but the program still has an uncertain future, since the case could go in front of the Supreme Court. Which, in turn, would rule on the validity of the program. DACA is illegal according to the Trump administration, because Obama did not have the authority to enable this program.
Emanuel has always been against Trump on the decision surrounding DACA; in October 2017, Emanuel said, “he is wrong on dreamers and he’s going to have to reverse himself on the dreamers” when responding to Trump’s threat of sanctions on sanctuary cities. While the fate of the DACA program can still be appealed in the court system, this marks a major victory for supporters and recipients of DACA. The mayor also stated that he commended the 9th Court’s decision and said the injunction stopped Trump’s “cruel and severely misguided attempt to end DACA.”
The benefits of DACA provide recipients with in-state college tuition and access to driver’s licenses. The University of Illinois at Chicago supports DACA recipients, saying the university “develops campus responses and processes to address their needs.” referring to undocumented students and DACA recipients. UIC also has the Office of Diversity and Inclusion to help students in receiving financial aid.
The fear behind the end of DACA is the fear of the deportation of current recipients and the inability to get an official ID, without which, recipients would have greater difficulty completing everyday tasks like filling a prescription, going to a bank, and even renting an apartment. Ending DACA would stop the benefits that the recipients receive, effectively making recipients illegal immigrants again with very few rights.
The DACA case going in front of the Supreme Court is an unnerving scenario to DACA supporters, since the Supreme Court has been more conservative in its recent rulings and currently has a 5-4 ratio of judges appointed by Republicans to Democrats. There is always the possibility the Supreme Court will refuse to hear the case; the Court has already done this when it delegated the ruling on the case to the 9th Circuit Court.
Overall, DACA is currently in place and is protected by the law. The final steps of the lengthy legal battle are drawing to an end, with an ending of either the Supreme Court hearing the case or the court refusing to hear the case, thus reaffirming the 9th Circuit Court’s decision.