Today, the United States Supreme Court found that the Department of Homeland Security’s decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program was “arbitrary and capricious” and in violation of federal law. The NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) filed an amicus brief in support of DACA recipients in October 2019.
Sherrilyn Ifill, LDF’s President and Director-Counsel, issued the following statement regarding today’s decision:
“Today’s Supreme Court decision is a momentous one, especially for the nearly 700,000 young immigrants who had to jump through countless hurdles to be a part of the DACA program – and rely on the government to make rational, non-discriminatory decisions about their ability to remain in the country. We celebrate alongside the ‘Dreamers’ today, and will continue to advocate for their ability to remain in the United States, to study, and to work, free from the threat of deportation.
“We also remain deeply troubled by the evidence that the rescission of DACA was motivated, at least in part, by racial discrimination. President Trump has made repeated statements demonstrating animus against immigrants of color. In her separate opinion today, Justice Sotomayor recognized that ‘the words of the President help to create the strong perception that the rescission decision was contaminated by impermissible discriminatory animus.’ We are disappointed that the majority of the court did not find this evidence persuasive.”
The Obama administration established the DACA program in 2012. In order to qualify for DACA, individuals must meet several requirements, including age restrictions regarding their age at the time of application and age when they arrived in the United States, education requirements mandating a high school diploma (or equivalent) or U.S. veteran status, residency restrictions requiring recipients to have lived in the country for at least five consecutive years, and strict criminal record limitations under which individuals who have been convicted of major or multiple offenses cannot apply.
In creating the program, then-Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano explained that federal immigration laws are not designed to remove certain “young people who were brought to this country as children and know only this country as home.” Since its inception, DACA has allowed almost 700,000 individuals to obtain status to work and receive an education in the United States. However, in 2017, the Trump administration announced it would stop accepting new applications for the DACA program, prompting a series of court challenges.
Founded in 1940, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) is the nation’s first civil and human rights law organization. LDF has been completely separate from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) since 1957—although LDF was originally founded by the NAACP and shares its commitment to equal rights. LDF’s Thurgood Marshall Institute is a multi-disciplinary and collaborative hub within LDF that launches targeted campaigns and undertakes innovative research to shape the civil rights narrative. In media attributions, please refer to us as the NAACP Legal Defense Fund or LDF.