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House Files Bipartisan Amicus Brief in Supreme Court in Support of DACA

October 4, 2019 by Dan McCue
Protesters hold up signs during a rally supporting Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, outside the White House on September 5, 2017. (Olivier Douliery/Abaca Press/TNS)

WASHINGTON – More than 170 current and former members of the House filed a bipartisan amicus brief in the Supreme Court Friday in support of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival program.

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, is the 2012, Obama-era policy that protected hundreds of thousands of people from deportation who were illegally brought into the United States as children and met certain other requirements.

Roughly 800,000 people, known as Dreamers, ultimately qualified for protection under the program.

But then, in September 2017, President Donald Trump abruptly terminated the program.

On November 12, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on three consolidated cases: Regents of the University of California v. Department of Homeland Security; Batalla Vidal v. Nielsen; and NAACP v. Trump, which argue that Trump’s action was unlawful, violating the Administrative Procedures Act and other regulations.

President Trump’s decision to terminate DACA created a moral emergency for our nation, put the fate of 800,000 young people on the line and broke with decades of congressional and executive precedent that recognized the legality of deferred action,” said Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., one of the signatories.

“DREAMers are as American as any of us – except for the paperwork, and both Democratic and Republican administrations have lawfully and reasonably prevented the mass deportation of innocent young people. This Administration’s purported justification for terminating DACA is wrong as a matter of law and history, and the Supreme Court must join us on the right side of history,” she said.

According to Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., another signer of the brief, Trump set a crisis in motion when he ended DACA, then “demanded his entire anti-immigrant wish-list as ransom to restore these young people’s protections.”

Durbin is the lead sponsor of the Dream Act, and has been fighting to pass this bipartisan legislation since 2001. In fact, in April 2010, Durbin and then-Senator Dick Lugar, R-Ind., were the first members of Congress to call for the establishment of the DACA program. 

Lofgren, chair of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration and Citizenship, is an original co-sponsor of the American Dream and Promise Act of 2019, which the House passed in June.

This legislation will establish a path to citizenship for Dreamers and immigrants with Temporary Protected Status (TPS) or Deferred Enforced Departure (DED), whose protections President Trump has also ended. 

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has refused to allow a debate or vote on the bill for more than 100 days. 

On Friday, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., urged the Senate to take up and pass this legislation “without further delay.”

In March, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and Durbin introduced the Dream Act of 2019, but that too has gotten nowhere.

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