Illegal immigrant “Dreamers” told the Supreme Court on Friday they are a key resource to combat the coronavirus crisis and that it’s another reason the high court should reject President Trump’s attempt to end the DACA program.
In a letter to the justices, lawyers for Dreamers said there are 27,000 DACA recipients working in health care as nurses, home health aides, pharmacists and the like.
“The pandemic sheds new light on the reliance interests of healthcare providers and the public health consequences of ignoring those interests,” the lawyers wrote.
They said the spread of the novel coronavirus, or COVID-19, has made clear just how ill-prepared the country would be if it lost those workers now and that’s a reason to rule against Mr. Trump, who has proposed phasing out the DACA program.
The court heard oral argument on the case earlier this term and a decision was expected by the summer.
DACA was created by executive action in 2012, when the Homeland Security Department announced a deferred action policy, granting Dreamers a temporary amnesty from deportation and issuing them work permits, entitling them to driver’s licenses, Social Security numbers and some taxpayer benefits.
The Trump administration, using the same executive powers, announced a phaseout of the program in 2017, saying DACA recipients would be allowed to serve out their permits, but couldn’t renew them, and no new applications would be accepted.
Lower courts put that on hold, and the case finally reached the high court this term.
The crux of the case is whether Mr. Trump could use executive powers to wipe away the program without going through procedural hoops. The program was created in 2012 without going through those hoops, but several lower-court judges said that didn’t justify Mr. Trump’s following the same path.
In their argument Friday the DACA recipients said the health crisis adds new evidence for why the Trump administration’s revocation of the program needs more study. They asked the justices for permission to file new briefs arguing the matter should be remanded to Homeland Security for more consideration.
“Termination of DACA during this national emergency would be catastrophic,” the lawyers said.