The DACA case in the Supreme Court is a case about how we treat the vulnerable

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3 mins read
DACA Rally outside the Supreme Court on November 12, 2019. Photo from the author.

I just got out of the Supreme Court after listening to #DACA arguments. I’ve said this many times: the only thing illegal about DACA is the way it was revoked.

But I’m not sure this Supreme Court will see it that way.

At argument, all the justices who spoke were harped up on the issue of reviewability: does a court have the power to second guess an agency when it says it *doesn’t* have the power to defer deportation for a large class of noncitizens? If so, what is the rationale an agency has to give, at a minimum?

The Court was struggling to find a line to draw. So were counsel arguing the case. It’s dicey: everyone agreed an agency like DHS has the authority to revoke DACA, but the question is how to do it legally.

I could get into the nitty gritty of administrative law here, but I won’t. Because one other issue that came up, and I think will be the saving grace if this Court punts the case back, is “engendered reliance.”

That means when an agency takes an action affecting nearly 800,000 people, their families, employers, and communities, who have relied on DACA for years, it better show its math when it tries to revoke it.

And it didn’t. Because this administration doesn’t care about people’s lives. This morning, Trump tweeted he’d make a deal if SCOTUS upheld DACA revocation. The white nationalist organizations were on Twitter droning on about how this case was about an arcane process of administrative law, neatly removing the human element which, ostensibly, the law is supposed to protect.

Don’t let them do this, folks.

This is emphatically a case about how we treat the vulnerable. If DACA is revoked, we need more than a conclusory, laconic statement that “we considered the reliance interests.”

If we lose DACA, this administration will continue to battle to deport as many Dreamers (oh, and the other 90% of the undocumented population). Any “deal” reached will be crappy by epic proportions.

This battle ain’t near over.

Dreamers leave the Supreme Court on November 12, 2019. Photo from the author.

Posted on Twitter. Re-posted with permission.


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Hassan Ahmad serves on the DemCast Board of Directors. An immigration lawyer and advocate fluent or proficient in 8 languages, he founded his practice on his belief in the right to seek prosperity. A former candidate for the Virginia House of Delegates, he serves on the Commonwealth Commission for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, and the Virginia Asian Advisory Board. He has fought for asylum seekers, families, and businesses seeking prosperity for 16 years, and seeks to elevate stories of the aspiring American experience to policymakers at all levels. Hassan lives in northern Virginia with his wife & three children. ​

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