President Barak Obama’s recent executive order to defer deportation of undocumented immigrants who have American-born children, have been in the country for at least five years, and can pass criminal background checks is an extension of his 2012 order that created the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. That previous order granted amnesty from deportation to undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. when they were young children. Obama’s actions prevent the Department of Homeland Security from having to inhumanely split up families when one or more of their members isn’t a legal U.S. resident.
Many conservative Republicans were outraged by the Obama’s decision and claim it was unconstitutional, despite the long history of U.S. presidents issuing controversial executive orders. For example, the first Republican president, Abraham Lincoln, issued an important one called the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863. Democrat Harry Truman issued an order to end racial discrimination in the U.S. armed forces in 1948. Those orders, like Obama’s, addressed blatant injustices that Congress had repeatedly refused and failed to resolve.
On June 16, 2017, the Donald Trump administration announced that it would rescind Obama’s November 2014 executive order that expanded the DACA program to include protection for the parents of children that had been brought to the U.S. when they were young.
On September 5, 2017, the Trump administration announced that it was rescinding the entire DACA program in six months.
On April 24, 1018, Judge John D. Bates of Federal District Court for the District of Columbia ruled that the Trump administration’s decision to terminate the DACA program was based on their “virtually unexplained” grounds that the program was “unlawful.”
On January 22, 2019, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to act on the Trump administration’s request to adjudicate the lower court’s stay of its proposal to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
On June 18, 2020, the U.S. Supreme Court blocked the Trump administration’s decision to end the DACA program. Chief Justice John Roberts wrote in the majority opinion, “‘The wisdom’ of those decisions ‘is none of our concern.’ We address only whether the agency complied with the procedural requirement that it provide a reasoned explanation for its action.”
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