Under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, children of undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. with their parents can receive government protection from deportation. They must have arrived prior to 2007 and been under the age of 16 at the time to benefit from the DACA program. They must also reapply every two years. 

Shortly after coming to power in 2017, the current administration attempted to end DACA and remove those protections for the children of immigrants. The rescission went to the Supreme Court, which recently issued a ruling upholding the program. 

Economic and social impact 

Business groups that employ DACA recipients argued in favor of the program and praised the Supreme Court’s ruling. Health care is one industry that an end to the DACA program would have hit very hard. DACA recipients in American health care currently include approximately 200 medical students, as well as physician assistants, home health aides, pharmacists and dentists. Altogether, the health care industry in the United States employs nearly 27,000 DACA recipients. 

Ruling’s implications 

In the Supreme Court’s majority opinion, the chief justice wrote that the administration’s decision to attempt to end DACA was not illegal in itself. However, the approach that the administration took violated the law because of a failure to address crucial parts of the policy in the memorandum recommending its termination. In other words, the ruling does not prevent the administration from attempting to end DACA again if it changes its approach. One of the justices who wrote a minority opinion criticized the ruling for not adequately resolving the issue, allowing the administration to start all over again. 

Though the future status of the program is not entirely certain, DACA recipients have expressed relief at the Supreme Court’s decision. Many are unfamiliar with either the culture or language of their home countries. If deported, most would have to leave school and/or jobs behind.