Thousands of San Diego County residents who were brought to this country as children by immigrant parents no longer fear that they could soon be deported.
In a groundbreaking ruling, the majority of Supreme Court Justices ruled on Thursday that the Trump Administration’s move to end the Deferred Action For Childhood Arrivals, better known as DACA, was not passed with proper explanation and therefore was not constitutional. The president made his decision to end DACA in September 2017. Ever since that decision has wound up in numerous courtrooms, eventually leading to the Supreme Court.
The court’s ruling leaves the so-called Dreamer Act intact for the time being, thus allowing an estimated 700,000 young immigrants nationwide, including 10,500 DACA recipients in San Diego County, to remain in the country where many have spent the vast majority of their lives.
According to the Department of Homeland Security, data obtained and analyzed by NBC 7 Investigates, the number of DACA recipients has decreased since 2012.
Immigration attorney, and Trump supporter, Esther Valdes says she celebrated the court’s decision.
“As a Latina, this is an important victory, not just for the over 400 DACA recipients that I have assisted in achieving their dreams in the United States, but because it allows them to work and live here,” Valdes told NBC 7 Investigates after learning of the high court's decision. “Americans benefit from DACA as well by having young wage earners, give their time, talents, and treasures to the United States.”
Despite her support for DACA, Valdes also supported President Trump’s decision to undo what he felt was an unconstitutional and unilateral action for former President Barack Obama.
“In doing this, President Trump was saying, 'If I can undo DACA, I need to also be able to assert that no other president can, by the stroke of a pen, circumvent what should be congressional duty,'” said Valdes.
Valdes says by forcing the issue, President Trump now forces congress to pass immigration reform.
“This has been a political football for two decades, but today we are celebrating...knowing that the next step is full legalization reform, the president asked Congress and gave them six months to do," she said.
In the meantime, President Trump took to Twitter to criticize the high court’s ruling.
San Diego attorney Andrew Nietor says Trump’s reaction underscores the realities for so many dreamers in San Diego County and throughout the country.
“Dreamers across the country and those who love them, those who depend on them, are breathing a sigh of relief this morning,” said Nietor, who specializes in immigration law and has represented over 100 DACA recipients since the law was signed into order in 2012, while cautioning that their plight, however, is far from over.
“Despite this great news, the court also made it clear that the president does hold power, both to continue the program and the power to terminate it if the correct process is followed. So, while this is good news, it's not permanent," he said.