The Supreme Court ruling in favor of DACA is a step in the right direction

By America Lopez-Santiago
June 23, 2020


Editor’s note: This story was part of a group of 2020 stories that shared the 2021 Student Keystone Media Award for DIVERSITY.

On June 18, The Supreme Court rejected the Trump administration’s attempt to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, also known as DACA. The program was created by former President Barak Obama during his time in office. This  program protects around 800,000 undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States as children. 

Luiz Zuluaga, DACA recipient, celebrating outside of the Supreme Court after hearing the ruling against Trump’s effort to end DACA. Photo provided by Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

Trump’s 2016 campaign

As a DACA recipient, when Trump won the elcetion, I remember crying myself to sleep. I knew his campaign revolved around building a wall and getting rid of illegal immigrants, including DACA. 

“We will immediately terminate President Obama’s two illegal executive amnesties, in which he defied federal law and the constitution to give amnesty to approximately 5 million illegal immigrants,” Trump stated in a 2016 campaign event. Two executive amnesties that he mentioned were DACA and the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents.  

DACA recipient at the Supreme Court
Ahtziry Lopez-Santiago, DACA recipient, in front of the Supreme Court back in Nov. 12,2019. Photo provided by Ahtziry Lopez-Santiago.

Everything that I’ve worked hard for was going to be taken away by someone who didn’t know or understand us. I’ll never wrap my head around why he wanted to take everything from us when all some of us know is this country. I can say that I don’t know anything about Mexico except what my family has told me. I’m Mexican and proud. However, I’m in a place where half of the time, some don’t want me here, and that hurts.  

Trump’s elected in office

Once Trump was in office, I vividly remember him saying that he wanted to help DACA recipients. Trump said he wanted to help them because they were hard-working kids. Trump told 25 lawmakers that they have to come up with a solution for DREAMers, and when they do, he would sign the bill. Trump’s change of heart gave me a little hope that he was changing and seeing us in a different light.  

However, a bill called the DREAM Act, proposed in Congress in 2019, would provide a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, but Trump had already rejected it while it was only being drafted. Back in Sept. 4, 2017, Trump announced that he was terminating DACA and wouldn’t be taking any more applications after March 5, 2018. Then the Supreme Court declared in June 2019, that they would hear the case in 2020 to decide if they would end DACA. 

Supreme Court’s ruling

Protester at the Supreme Court when they were first looking at the case to end DACA. Photo provided by Ahtziry Lopez-Santiago.

Hearing the news that the Supreme Court ruled against Trump’s attempts to end, DACA made me feel a sense of relief. It might not seem like a lot, but as DREAMers, we had won something big and in the right direction. While I’m happy about the news, I am resentful of Trump’s reaction to the ruling. Trump felt the decision was a shotgun blast into the face of people who are proud to call themselves conservatives. Trump also believed that this decision shows that they need new justices of the Supreme Court. Trump’s reaction shows how he didn’t understand the reason why they voted against ending DACA. It wasn’t because it couldn’t be done, but because the Trump administration didn’t follow the procedures and that the Supreme Court felt it was incorrect. 

Even with this win we have to work harder and inform people about DACA. We show everyone that we aren’t giving up, no matter how hard and painful it gets. 

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America Lopez-Santiago

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