Reaction in Texas to Thursday’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling blocking President Donald Trump’s attempt to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program appears to be breaking along sharply divided political and personal lines. For the so-called Dreamers who can now stay in the U.S., it is a relief; for governmental leaders on both sides of the issue, it is a signal that there is more work to be done.
In 2017, the president announced he was ending the Obama-era program that makes it possible for undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children to legalize their immigration status and avoid deportation.
In its 5-4 ruling, the nation’s high court found that Trump’s actions on DACA were capricious and arbitrary.
“We do not decide whether DACA or its rescission are sound policies,” Chief Justice John Roberts wrote in the majority opinion. “We address only whether the agency complied with the procedural requirement that it provide a reasoned explanation for its action. Here the agency failed to consider the conspicuous issues of whether to retain forbearance and what if anything to do about the hardship to DACA recipients.”
Texas is home to 107,000 of the nation’s 650,000 DACA residents, falling second to California.
Houston Office of New Americans and Immigrant Communities Director Terence O’Neill applauded the ruling but expressed concern that there could be attempts to address the issue in a different way. He said there is a need for a permanent path to citizenship.
State Rep. Rafael Anchia (D-Dallas), who chairs the Mexican American Legislative Caucus, urged everyone to enjoy the decision but not forget the need for a permanent solution for all undocumented immigrants.
The Texas Democratic Party had a similar reaction.
“Today’s victory for DREAMers is a victory for us all,” stated party chair Gilberto Hinojosa. “DREAMers are our doctors, nurses, brothers, sisters, fathers, mothers, neighbors, and members of the military. DREAMers are here to stay. It is fiercely American to look out and protect one another. Our DREAMers have always deserved the same protections as anybody else, and now they will get those protections they deserve.”
The Texas State Teachers Association was also quick with applause for the court’s decision.
“We applaud the Supreme Court’s decision protecting the Dreamers, the young immigrants who have grown up in this country and are making huge contributions to our society. They are students, educators, business people, health care workers and other professionals. Many are on the front lines this very day, risking their own lives to save the lives of others during this coronavirus pandemic. This is the only country these young people have ever known, and by ruling in their favor, the Supreme Court has struck a huge blow for democracy, humanity and decency.”
On the other side, the reaction was just as swift but markedly different in tone.
“We are disappointed with today’s SCOTUS decision, but it does not resolve the underlying issue that President Obama’s original executive order exceeded his constitutional authority,” Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton stated. “We look forward to continuing litigating that issue in our case now pending in the Southern District of Texas.”
The average age of DACA residents is 26, and about two-thirds are between the ages of 21 and 30. You can read more about the impact Dreamers have in Texas in this previous Reform Austin story.