What The Supreme Court Decision On DACA Means For Republicans


Illegal Aliens

On February 26th, the United States Supreme Court dealt a major setback to Trump and those wishing to eliminate the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Upholding the decision from a lower court, the Supreme Court will not even consider hearing the case to overturn the lower court.

Attorney General Sessions announced the program would end by at latest March 5th, less than a week from now, but a court decided that an executive repeal such a program would be unconstitutional. Sessions had previously argued that DACA was introduced unconstitutionally in the first place. Many voices from the right criticized President Obama when he used an executive order to implement it in the first place.

By going directly to the Supreme Court, the Trump Administration effectively would have bypassed any appeals courts and taken time off the process. The Supreme Court generally only agrees to such bypasses in cases of immediate national emergencies when time is of the absolute essence. It is very rare (only about 12 times in the past 100 years), and it was unlikely in the first place they would allow Trump to fast-track his own politics. The most recent time the Supreme Court allowed the bypassing of the appeals courts was during the nationwide steel and coal strikes that threatened the economic output of the entire country.

This does not mean DACA is safe, however. It just means the Trump Administration must go through the California appeals court first. Before it reaches the Supreme Court again, it could take a year. Worse yet for Trump, with Republicans losing seats in the midterms, Congress could independently vote to definitively preserve DACA instead, which would render the entire executive repeal process for naught. Despite it being a longshot, it made sense for Trump to try, in order to get executive action fast. Of course, one must then ask what precedent this sets for future executive actions.

With a Republican-held House of Representatives, passing a massive illegal immigrant amnesty bill would have otherwise taken years and possibly never happened. It was especially likely that the DACA procedures acted against the spirit of the balance of powers considering how similar provisions drafted in Congress were defeated.

DACA was implemented under the Obama Administration to allow illegal immigrant children to remain in the United States legally, so long as they vow to complete high school and keep a clean criminal record. An estimated 700,000 immigrants are currently taking advantage of this, and if it were repealed, would put them all at risk of being sent back to their parents’ countries of origin.

Aside from the questionable use of Presidential powers, it has also been criticized in principle by conservatives for letting in illegal immigrants with incongruous national values. The challenges of DACA indeed go beyond not committing crimes and going to school. There still remains the issue of taxes and welfare, and whether people brought into the country without naturalization should be able to influence its political climate.

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