Rachael Morrison ’22

On November 12, 2019, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments about the Trump administration’s decision to end Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). DACA is an immigration policy established during Obama’s presidency where select people, commonly known as Dreamers, who came to the United States under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012 and over the age of 15 can apply for deferred removal action for two years.

This policy allowed for about 600,000 immigrants to be in the United States without fear of deportation. People under DACA have to be in school, graduated, have their GED, a veteran, or honorably discharged from the armed forces. They must have not been convicted of a felony or a significant misdemeanor in order to be eligible. Applicants are able to reapply after it has expired.

On September 5th, 2018, Trump signed an executive order to rescind DACA which would leave these Dreamers vulnerable to deportation. The date set for the removal of the policy was March 5th, 2018. On this set date Dreamers and many other supporters organized a protest at Capitol Hill. Many Dreamers watched for support in fear of getting arrested and having their DACA revoked. Multiple lawsuits were filed against the Trump administration. Injunctions in the District of Columbia, New York, and California were issued which allowed people who have DACA to reapply while the actions of the Trump administration are under review. The administration claimed that it was an unconstitutional act of authority and should be revoked. They must prove that their decision to end DACA was not “arbitrary and capricious”. In other words, they must prove that the decision was made because of a reasonable cause and not as an abuse of Discretion.

The focus question of the case was did the Trump administration provide an adequate explanation on why it ended DACA. Gen. Noel J. Francisco argued that the decision is not subject to legal review and it was justified because of the question about the policy’s legality. Justices Niel Gorsuch, Samuel Alito and John Roberts were unsure about if the court has the power to even review this executive decision. A decision is expected in June 2020.



“Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).” USCIS, 5 Sept. 2017, https://www.uscis.gov/archive/consideration-deferred-action-childhood-arrivals-daca#guidelines. 

“DACA Litigation Timeline.” National Immigration Law Center, https://www.nilc.org/issues/daca/daca-litigation-timeline/.

Find the Supreme Court’s oral arguments here.