The Supreme Court heard oral arguments on Nov. 14, to determine the fate of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which around 700,000 people use.
According to Long Beach State Professor Jason Whitehead, the chances of DACA being rescinded are relatively high, although the case could go either way depending on how Chief Justice John Roberts decides.
Rescinding the program could affect many students that attend Long Beach State. There are no official numbers available for the amount of Californians that use DACA, but the most recent estimate states there are 188,420 recipients in California.
“Regardless of their [immigration] status, regardless of the findings of the court, because they are still going to be here, we need to make sure they have the resources they need to be successful,” said Interim Director of the Dream Success Center Manuel Perez.
The court case comes at the heel of proposed fee increases across the board for many immigration-related programs, including a DACA renewal fee increase from $495 to $760.
“It’s also a money issue, $500 doesn’t sound like a lot but for individuals in this situation it’s much harder,” said Eli Diaz, a master’s of arts in education student.
DACA was initially put in place by President Obama in 2012. The program is meant to allow for children that arrived in the United States without documentation to obtain work permits, as well as protection from deportation. In 2017 the Trump administration issued an order to rescind the program, but this action was blocked by lower courts.
“[President Trump] has a four-member conservative majority on the Supreme Court with a history of pretty expansive interpretations of executive power,” Whitehead said.
The court case itself has focused on the evidence the president has given and if it is sufficient enough to end the program.
“I think the Trump administration would take advantage of whatever loophole they can to make it more difficult [to stay in DACA,]” Whitehead said. “What the court will probably do is allow anyone that is already in the program to stay in.”
The transcripts provided by the Supreme Court seem to suggest that the conservative majority is leaning towards affirming the president’s decision to end the program. With both Trump appointees, Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh, agreeing that the administration does not need to provide additional evidence.
“Why was that insufficient, I think is one of the questions, and the other is what good would another five years of litigation over the adequacy of that explanation serve,” Gorsuch said.
Many of the students at the Dream Success Center have expressed at least some level of anxiety about a constantly fluctuating immigration policy under the current president. For some of them, this might be their last chance to get deportation protection.
“My friends that are DACAmented…are getting the wrong information or out of fear they don’t want to renew their permits,” Diaz said.
Because this is a high profile case, the decision will likely not be announced until the end of the Supreme Court term, around June.