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Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Policy is Upheld by the United States Supreme Court

By: Angelita Chavez | June 23, 2020

By: Gladys Gervacio and Angelita Chavez

On Thursday, June 18, the United States Supreme Court ruled in favor of upholding Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). The court ruled that President Trump’s 2017 efforts to cancel DACA were “arbitrary and capricious,” because the administration did not clearly explain its policy justifications for revoking the program. However, the Trump Administration could overturn DACA policy in the future if they follow procedures correctly.

DACA History

The DACA program allows certain people who arrived in the United States unlawfully as children to receive a renewable two-year deportation deferral, and eligibility for a work permit. It was established during the Obama Administration in August 2012.

Why the Challenge to DACA was Not Upheld

In 2017, former Secretary of Homeland Security Elaine Duke announced that DACA would be rescinded based on a statement from then Attorney General Jeff Sessions calling the program “unconstitutional.” 

According to Chief Justice John Roberts, the memo from Duke did not provide detailed reasons on why DACA should be canceled. It also did not address the hardship to thousands of people supported by the program..

While the Supreme Court did not uphold the decision to overturn DACA, Chief Justice Roberts stated that the Trump Administration may overturn the policy if they follow procedures correctly in the future.

Next Steps for DACA-Holders and Prospective Applicants

The DACA program has been closed to new applications since efforts to overturn the program began in 2017. This could change with the Supreme Court ruling, and DACA may begin to welcome new applicants again.

Under current DACA eligibility rules, individuals must be present in the US unlawfully after entering as a child under the age of 16. They must either be in school, a high school graduate, or an honorable discharge from the military. Additionally, they must not have been convicted of crimes including felonies, significant misdemeanors, or three or more regular misdemeanors. They also cannot pose a threat to national security.

The DACA program is still open to renewals for people who already hold status.


For help exploring what form(s) of immigration relief you, a family member, or an employee may qualify for, please send an email to Please forward this alert to your contacts who may benefit.

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