HOUSTON - A big win for nearly 800,000 young men and women known as DREAMers. The Supreme Court has ruled the Trump Administration can not carry out its plan to stop DACA, at least for now.
So what does that mean for the thousands of people affected in the Houston area?
“Make sure you continue to do what you’re supposed to do. If you move make sure you alert them and so forth. Don’t give them any reason,” says Professor Michael Olivas with the University of Houston Law Center.
There are 62,000 Deferred Action For Childhood Arrivals or DACA recipients in the Houston area and 140,000 in Texas. This decision allows them to continue working and living in the U.S. without fear of being deported to a country that may be foreign to them.
"This victory means to me not being afraid, not being afraid that my kids who are U.S. citizens lose their family because I’m a DREAMer and my husband is a DREAMer too,” says Aura Espinosa.
"I arrived in the country when I was 2 years old in 1993. I have consulted with several attorneys and have no other path to citizenship. So DACA has been a lifesaving opportunity for me,” explains Susie Lujano.
“Thanks to DACA I’ve been able to have my realtors license,” adds Houstonian Karen Ramos.
"Today we got a good decision by the Supreme Court. The court decided to stand on the right side of history,” says FIEL Executive Director Cesar Espinosa.
"I think the president, the administration simply hoped their court would blink and let them do it and that didn’t happen,” says Professor Olivas.
Instead, the U.S. Supreme Court says in 2017 President Donald Trump did not follow the Administrative Procedure Act when he terminated President Obama’s 2012 DACA program which protects hundreds of thousands of immigrants brought to the U.S. as children from deportation.
"All this does is buy new time. Even I, a hardcore supporter of DACA and the Dream Act, would say that the administration if they had the authority to enact a program, they have the authority to dismantle that program,” explains Olivas.
"The Supreme Court told them (the Trump Administration) they can terminate DACA with a more detailed explanation and following the Administrative Procedure Act,” says Attorney Roberto Quijano.
The Trump Administration is expected to answer this decision by doing just that in 6 to 8 months.
"I do not expect the administration is going to become woke on this or say hey DACA lives matter,” says Olivas.
"I think the answer is going to have to happen after the election and I think it’s going to be a matter for the legislature and not the courts” adds University of Houston Law Center Professor Geoffrey Hoffman.
Many are calling for comprehensive immigration reform to give DREAMers a pathway to citizenship. Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner and County Judge Lina Hidalgo have both released statements celebrating the Supreme Court’s decision.
Mayor Turner says in part, “Whether they are a business owner, a teacher, a nurse or pursuing other opportunities they make this city the best place to live, work and raise a family”.
“I’m not sure why there's this misconception in the public consciousness that there’s this body of quote-unquote illegals out there that are doing nefarious things. This is so entrenched and so misguided,” says Professor Huffman.
“They’re now doctors, lawyers, teachers, healthcare workers,” adds Professor Olivas.
“This is going to be seen as a positive in the fight against COVID-19 because many are essential workers and first responders,” Hoffman adds.
"Specifically during this time of pandemic we have kept this country moving,” says the FIEL Executive Director.
“Our lives count on your vote. Our lives and our livelihood and our families count on you actually being an ally and not just saying that you are and that you care about us and you love us. So please vote,” says Lujano.