Supreme Court Hands Down a Lifeline for Young Immigrant ‘Dreamers’

Dreamers and DACA supporters rally outside of the U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday, June 18, 2020
Supporters rally outside of the US Supreme Court Building today after the court rejected the Trump administration’s push to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which gives nearly 700,000 so-called Dreamers the ability to work in the US and avoid deportation. Photo: Bill Clark / Congressional Quarterly via ZUMA Press

Today, the US Supreme Court in a 5-4 decision preserved legal protections for young immigrants, otherwise known as “Dreamers.” The ruling, which deemed the Trump administration’s efforts to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program “arbitrary and capricious,” is a lifeline for hundreds of thousands of hardworking Dreamers and the communities they serve.

In California, this decision affects the legal status of almost 200,000 people. While the impact on our state and local communities will be broad, the decision will have particular implications for our health care system, which faces huge shortages of health care workers with the cultural and linguistic skills needed to serve California’s diverse population. Nationwide, there are 29,000 frontline health care workers who are DACA recipients. California has 8,900 of them — more than any other state.

With the COVID-19 outbreak, many Dreamers have put their own lives at risk to care for their patients and to protect the health of the public. The Supreme Court decision will allow Dreamers to continue making these essential, life-saving contributions now and into the future.

While today’s ruling is welcome news, it is not a permanent solution for Dreamers. The Supreme Court’s decision leaves room for future attempts to undo DACA’s protections. Our federal policymakers should not continue to threaten their future and should make their legal immigration status permanent.

Just this month, a CBS News poll found that 85% of Americans — with strong majorities across the political spectrum — favor allowing the Dreamers to stay and continue as contributing members of our society.

Dreamers have given so much of themselves to America. Their fate and our nation’s future are so intertwined. Let’s celebrate today’s victory and carry a renewed sense of hope and commitment to build an even more just tomorrow.

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