La Lucha Sigue – The Fight Goes On
By Vanessa Meraz
For months, I refreshed the Supreme Court webpage on a weekly basis to check whether the justices had made a decision regarding the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) case. As a DACA recipient myself, I woke up on June 18th feeling the anxious anticipation we had all experienced over the past few months, but with a distinct notion that today was the day. That morning, I refreshed my browser one last time and read what my eyes could hardly believe. We won.
The first thing I did was to call my parents and cry to them, overwhelmed with the enormity of the historic decision that impacted our lives so deeply. In that moment, I could almost feel the collective sigh of temporary relief of nearly 700,000 DACA recipients reverberating across every corner of the nation we call home.
In a shocking 5-4 opinion written by Chief Justice Roberts, the Supreme Court determined that the claims were judicially reviewable and that the way in which the Trump administration rescinded DACA was unlawful. The procedure that the Department of Homeland Security followed in ending the program violated the Administrative Procedure Act, an act which directs that agency actions must be set aside if they are arbitrary or capricious. Because the government did not sufficiently consider the consequences of ending the program, the Supreme Court concluded that the actions were, in fact, arbitrary and capricious, effectively keeping in place the 2012 memo that first enacted DACA.
I would be remiss not to express my gratitude for benefitting from a program that affords such indispensable privileges, but it would be disrespectful to our predecessors in the broader movement for justice and liberation not to demand more. DACA is and always has been a temporary fix in a deeply broken immigration system. While this is a landmark victory won by decades of fearless organizing by immigrant communities that alleviates the anxiety, fear, and pain felt by DACA recipients and our families over the last three years, we need and deserve more.
We know that the Trump administration will likely attempt to terminate DACA again in a way that does not violate procedure, so we need permanent protections now – starting with the passage of the American Dream and Promise Act. While legislative action to protect DACA recipients is a widely supported and necessary start, we need permanent protections for all 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States. Home is here, not just for DACA recipients like myself, but also for our families. Across the U.S., over one million individuals live with a DACA recipient, and over a quarter million U.S. citizen children have at least one parent who is a DACA recipient. We are woven into the fabric of this country.
Moreover, the U.S. Customs and Immigration Service (USCIS) must honor the Supreme Court ruling and continue to allow current DACA recipients to renew their status and apply for advanced parole, and immediately allow that immigrant youth who were never able to apply to the program to do so now.
La lucha sigue, and we must continue to show up for each other. We are beholden to follow the path that others have set for us to dismantle oppression in all its forms. This means recognizing that there is no immigrant justice without justice for all Black people in our country. Our liberation is inseparable, and I look forward to continuing this collective fight.