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DACA recipients can sleep well at night – for now.
That seems to sum up the Supreme Court’s June 18 decision, which prevents immediate deportation of about 700,000 residents who came to the United States as children.
The high court declared the Department of Homeland Security failed to provide reasoned analysis supporting its cancellation of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, and thus was arbitrary and capricious.
This rationale presents several consequences for DACA recipients, for the government and for the legal community.
The ruling allows DACA recipients to maintain protection against deportation at least for now.
DACA recipients should continue renewing their DACA applications to avoid accumulating time in which they are unlawfully present in the United States.
The Supreme Court’s decision also allows the U.S. government to establish a new framework to rollback DACA, as long as it follows the principles of administrative law.
The next step in the future of DACA will depend on the political calculations of the Trump administration, realizing whatever process it pursues will face legal challenges.
The immediate consequence of the court’s ruling is that DACA continues to be in effect, but legislation that would provide permanent protection from deportation and a path to citizenship for DACA recipients is more crucial than ever.
Ironically, the United States has circled back to 2012, when citizens concerned about immigration asked Congress to offer legal solutions only it possesses the authority to provide.
The DACA struggle has consumed more than eight years, and yet Congress still has failed to deliver a final solution.
DACA recipients have endured years of uncertainty for the regularization of their status and waited for a path to become citizens of the country they call their own, all due to the inaction and acquiescence of Congress.
The struggle to provide DACA holders with a legislated protection from deportation and a path to U.S. citizenship is a fight for justice.
As Christians, we must advocate to do what is right and to seek the well-being of our neighbors.
Now is the time to be our brothers’ and sisters’ keepers because if Congress continues to fail to act, DACA recipients will be threatened with deportation again.
We should demand our senators and representatives provide a permanent solution to DACA.
In Matthew 25, Jesus commanded us to welcome our neighbors and to love the stranger, especially children. Of all people, Christians should relate to the struggles of DACA recipients.
When he was a child, Jesus’ parents fled persecution, immigrating to another country to spare his life and to provide for his safety and well-being.
DACA recipients possess characteristics that make them different from other immigrants to the United States.
Immigration law deals with human rights, international law, national security issues, domestic and foreign economic policies, labor and employment law, family law and, most importantly, humanitarian factors.
All these factors influence their lives, but DACA recipients present yet another issue.
They were raised, studied and work in the United States. They possess little or no ties to their countries of origin.
Historically, they have been a minor priority for immigration enforcement officials.
Although the majority of DACA recipients are not Americans according to their documents, their perspectives, their worldviews and their ways of living are thoroughly American. Every DACA recipient sees herself or himself as an American.
Do we – can we – see them like that? Would you be comfortable if 700,000 DACA recipients who were raised in the United States were deported?
That’s the moral question we need to grapple with as Christians and as Americans. That is also the underlying context of the Supreme Court’s DACA decision.
Elket Rodríguez is the immigrant and refugee advocacy and missions specialist for the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship and Fellowship Southwest. He’s also an immigration attorney in Texas.
Elket Rodríguez es el especialista en defensa y misiones de inmigrantes y refugiados del Compañerismo Bautista Cooperativo y Fellowship Southwest. Además, es abogado de inmigración en Texas.