Supreme Court Rules DACA Cancellation Was Illegal: Over 250,000 American Children Can Sleep Tonight

June 18, 2020, Washington, DC – Today, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a decision on the consolidated cases regarding the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. The 5-4 ruling concludes that the Trump Administration violated the Administrative Procedures Act when terminating the program, and therefore the program remains in effect. The majority opinion, authored by Chief Justice Roberts, will impact the lives of nearly 700,000 DACA recipients, many of whom are students, parents, and workers.

“Tonight more than a quarter of a million young children can sleep a little better, knowing that their parents will not be taken from them tomorrow by the Trump administration’s illegal cancellation of DACA,” said Olivia Golden, executive director of the Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP). “All children and parents deserve the security of knowing that when they wake up, their families will still be together. We applaud the Supreme Court for recognizing the harm this administration would cause and refusing to let them cancel this program illegally, especially during a public health crisis.”

CLASP had filed an amicus brief (appendix) in the consolidated DACA cases, alongside the American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and dozens more children’s advocacy organizations, medical professionals, and child development experts. The brief was co-authored by Persyn Law & Policy and Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP. Quotes from these organizations and experts can be accessed here.

As the brief explains, society has a moral imperative to protect children from harm, and the Court must consider the consequences that rescinding DACA would have on the hundreds of thousands of young children whose parents rely on DACA for work authorization and protection from deportation. The brief states: “The imminent threat of losing DACA protection places children at risk of losing parental nurturance, as well as losing income, food security, housing, access to health care, educational opportunities, and the sense of safety and security that is the foundation of healthy child development.”

While the court ruling means that DACA will continue for now, the Trump administration can move to cancel it through legal means. But the program has strong support from all sectors of society, who will insist the administration preserve it and that Congress pass a permanent legislative solution. “As our country continues to grapple with a pandemic, when DACA beneficiaries are on the front lines in health care and other essential positions, this is simply not the time to add further insecurity to families’ lives,” added Golden.

Read the amicus brief filed in the consolidated cases of United States Department of Homeland Security v. Regents of the University of California; Donald J. Trump, President of the United States v. National Association for the Advancement of Colored People; and Kirsten M. Nielsen, Secretary of Homeland Security v. Martin Jonathan Batalla Vidal here, with appendix.

Additional data about the economic contributions and family ties of DACA beneficiaries can be found here, including state-by-state calculations.


The Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP) is a national, nonpartisan, anti-poverty organization advancing policy solutions for people with low incomes. CLASP’s solutions directly address the barriers people face because of their race, ethnicity, and immigration status.