With thousands of Southlanders expecting to be affected by whatever the Supreme Court decides regarding DACA, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, L.A.-area students will stage walkouts Tuesday and hold a rally to express support for DACA’s survival as the court hears oral arguments on the issue.
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra argued on behalf of DACA before the Court Tuesday.
“We take our historic fight to the Supreme Court to defend the DACA program,” Becerra said. “This fight is about protecting the doctors, the teachers, the innovators in the tech community. All those people who are out there doing great things for America and happen to be Dreamers,” he said.
“President Trump’s reckless, heartless decision to end DACA runs counter to the values that we hold most dear that everyone who works had and plays by the rules deserves a chance to get ahead,” Becerra said on Twitter.
In contrast, President Donald Trump Tuesday described many of the immigrants dubbed “Dreamers” as “hardened criminals,” but said that if the Supreme Court backs his decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, he will cut a deal with Democrats regarding the future of DREAMERS, as DACA beneficiaries are known.
“Many of the people in DACA, no longer very young, are far from angels. Some are very tough, hardened criminals,” Trump said in a tweet.
The high court is set Tuesday to hear arguments over the legality of Trump’s 2017 plan to rescind DACA, the Obama-era program that protects from deportation almost 700,000 immigrants who entered the U.S. illegally as children. A decision is expected by June 2020, amid the presidential election campaign.
The high court case is not over whether DACA itself is legal but the administration’s approach to ending it. For the tens of thousands of people affected by DACA, the difference is largely academic.
The Trump administration has argued that Obama exceeded his constitutional powers by bypassing Congress when he created DACA by executive action. He has made his hardline immigration policies, including pursuing construction of a wall along the U.S.-Mexican border, a centerpiece of his presidency and his re-election campaign for 2020.
DACA currently protects roughly 660,000 immigrants, mostly Hispanic young adults, from deportation and provides them work permits, though not a path to citizenship.
The Supreme Court is hearing Team Trump’s appeals of lower court rulings in New York, California and the District of Columbia that blocked the president’ move and left DACA in place.
The lower courts ruled that Trump violated a U.S. law called the Administrative Procedure Act, which requires policy changes be done in an orderly way, in seeking to rescind DACA.
In his 2017 statement on phasing out DACA, Trump alleged there are “tragic consequences” to the United States of a decades-long failure by leaders in Washington to enforce immigration laws, citing “the illicit entry of dangerous drugs and criminal cartels.”
The program, which allows eligible immigrants to be issued renewable two-year work permits, remains in effect for those already enrolled, but the administration has refused to approve new applications.
Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda L. Solis, a former Obama cabinet member, held a news conference in Los Angeles Tuesday morning to showcase support for DACA beneficiaries. She was joined by DACA beneficiaries, Rigoberto Reyes, executive director for the county office of Immigrant Affairs, L.A. Community College District Chancellor Francisco Rodriguez, and members of civic groups.
“The County of Los Angeles opposes this administration’s misguided attempt to dismantle DACA. We will not stop fighting. I join in solidarity with educators, employers, medical professionals, students and community leaders in expressing our support of DACA,” sais Solis, who has authored and passed 45 motions at the Board of Supervisors to protect, defend, and fight for the rights of immigrants since the 2016 presidential election.
“This is unlike any other Supreme Court case. The Supreme Court’s eventual ruling on DACA will extend to our idea of humanity, and who we are as a country, and who we aspire to be. As the proud daughter of immigrants, I know this country was built on the tremendous sacrifices of hard-working immigrants. Our nation’s 800,000 DACA recipients proudly fulfill that legacy every day.
Without mentioning Trump, she expressed views sharply at odds with his stance that the Dreamers “are far from angels” and include “hardened criminals.”
“Dreamers embody the values of this country through their work ethic, their optimism, and unwavering loyalty to this nation. DACA recipients are military veterans, medical students, and employees of Fortune 500 companies. Dreamers are our friends, family members, employers, and neighbors. DACA recipients were brought to this country as children, and they grew up in the United States. This country is their home.”
Supporters of the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights will hold a series of actions in support of the DACA program. At 10 a.m., students will stage walkouts at Garfield, Warren, Academia, Avance, Marshall and other high school campuses. At 11 a.m. a rally with students and members of the public will take place at the Molecule Man sculpture at the Federal Building at 255 E. Temple St. in Little Tokyo.
At 12:15 p.m., rally participants will march to MacArthur Park at 2230 W. Sixth St. And at 3 p.m., an information fair, rally and concert will be staged at the Levitt Pavillion in MacArthur Park.