The U.S. Supreme Court gave Americans a few more reasons Thursday to kick President Donald Trump out of office.
As if we needed them.
The court halted, for now, Trump’s years-long effort to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, more commonly known as DACA, that gives temporary legal protections and work authorizations to younger undocumented immigrants who pass background checks. President Barack Obama established DACA in 2012.
“Relief,” Tania Unzueta of Mijente, a nationwide social justice and Latinx advocacy group, said in a phone call.
Unzueta relied on DACA protections until last year when her spouse successfully sponsored her for legal permanent residency.
“This is just one of the things Trump has done to hurt our community,” Unzueta said. “It’s great that the Supreme Court was able to stop it, but it’s not permanent. The court said, ‘Give us a better reason.’ ”
A 5-4 majority of Supreme Court justices, including conservative Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., basically said the Trump administration has to follow the law to unwind DACA. In this case, it’s called the Administrative Procedure Act.
Although Trump now knows how to end DACA, doing so would take time. Decisive action is unlikely before Election Day.
But please don’t doubt that Trump would try again and prevail. If he’s re-elected.
It’s yet another reason he needs to go.
The ruling also further exposes Trump’s general incompetence. Eliminating DACA would have been a slam dunk had he and his administration followed the rules. Thankfully, they messed up and a lot of good people were spared.
This president simply has no regard for the law. We keep seeing this. It was revealed repeatedly in the sworn testimony of respected members of his staff during the House impeachment proceedings, and it has been revealed again in John Bolton’s bombshell new book.
Trump came off as desperate in a tweet he posted after Thursday’s Supreme Court ruling:
“These horrible & politically charged decisions coming out of the Supreme Court are shotgun blasts into the face of people that are proud to call themselves Republicans or Conservatives,” Trump cried. “We need more Justices or we will lose our 2nd. Amendment & everything else. Vote Trump 2020!”
The man is flailing. Yet he refuses to learn how to govern.
Three years ago, egged on by then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Trump directed his administration to end DACA, which protects some 650,000 undocumented immigrants, including about 35,000 in Illinois. Trump wanted to keep his extreme-right anti-immigrant base happy. And he craves any opportunity to undo Obama’s milestone achievements.
But Trump and other Republicans ignored this: Many DACA recipients have become American success stories.
Some have become the doctors and nurses who are saving lives during the coronavirus pandemic. Others have become teachers, lawyers and engineers. They are pouring billions of dollars into the U.S. economy.
Losing DACA would mean the end of their careers. Losing DACA would make them targets again for deportation.
DACA should be ended only after Congress comes up with legislation to legalize these folks permanently. The outlook isn’t good. Obama and former President George W. Bush both failed in their attempts to pass immigration reform.
Trump won’t even go there with Congress, not seriously. He would rather cage immigrant children, refuse to hear asylum cases, cast all undocumented immigrants as criminals and let bright young DACA recipients live in poverty — before shipping them out of America.
Trump’s war on DACA recipients has been so devastating that Mijente, the advocacy group, was lining up therapists for its members because they feared the Supreme Court ruling was headed in Trump’s favor. It would have been the final straw, coming after years of bigoted Trump administration policies meant to demonize and punish immigrants so as to score political points with certain white Americans.
“Someone said it felt like psychological warfare,” Unzueta told me.
We must vote on Nov. 3. We must say “enough.”
Marlen Garcia is a member of the Sun-Times Editorial Board.