DACA Status Update: In Place for Now, But Resolution Remains Elusive

By Corey Mitchell — January 22, 2019 2 min read
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The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which provides protections for nearly 700,000 undocumented immigrants—including thousands who work and learn in the nation’s K-12 schools—remains in place for now.

The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday decided not to act on the Trump administration’s effort to end DACA, which protects immigrants known as “Dreamers” from deportation and grants them work permits. The court’s inaction means the High Court will not determine the fate of DACA during the current term, which ends in June.

A coalition of states and immigrant rights groups had urged the justices to deny the administration’s request and let a series of lower court rulings, all of which blocked President Donald Trump from ending DACA, stand.

More than 16 months have passed since Trump originally proposed canceling DACA in September 2017. At the time, he gave Congress six months to work out a compromise solution; that deadline came and went without an agreement.

The Supreme Court’s move comes just a few days after Trump suggested that the Dreamers’ fate could be linked to his demand for $5.7 billion to fund a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. The money would come as part of an agreement to end the month-long partial government shutdown. In exchange for the wall funding, Trump offered three years of protections for Dreamers, as well as for holders of temporary protected status, a program that allows immigrants from countries in crisis to live and work in the United States legally.

But congressional Democrats dismissed Trump’s latest offer, in part because the deal didn’t offer a path to citizenship for the Dreamers.

A decision on DACA decision holds the potentially to significantly impact schools. The Washington-based Migration Policy Institute estimates that 250,000 students have become DACA-eligible since President Barack Obama began the program in 2012 and that about 9,000 undocumented, DACA-protected teachers work in U.S. schools.

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Photo Credit: Wearing “butterfly wings,” supporters of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program hold a tarp with an image of President Donald Trump as they march in support of DACA on March 5, 2018, on Capitol Hill in Washington. --Jacquelyn Martin/AP

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A version of this news article first appeared in the Learning the Language blog.