The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Thursday in favor of an immigration advocate from Patchogue who sued to block the Trump administration’s decision to end a program that protects from deportation hundreds of thousands of young immigrants.
Eliana Fernández, an Ecuadorean immigrant and lead organizer of nonprofit Make The Road New York, was among a half dozen plaintiffs who sued to reverse President Donald Trump’s rescinding the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program that shields from deportation children, dubbed “Dreamers,” brought to the U.S. by undocumented immigrants. The justice’s 5-4 vote upholds a lower court’s ruling that Trump’s move to end the program was unlawful.
“We do not decide whether DACA or its rescission are sound policies. We address only whether the agency complied with the procedural requirement that it provide a reasoned explanation for its action,” Conservative Chief Justice John Roberts wrote in joining the court’s four liberals in finding that the administration’s actions were “arbitrary and capricious” under a federal law called the Administrative Procedure Act.
Fernández, a 31-year-old mother of two and DACA recipient who arrived at age 14, was among 200 people who marched 230 miles over 16 days to Washington, D.C. ahead of the U.S. Supreme Court hearing in November to raise awareness to the issue.
The ruling means that the roughly 649,000 immigrants, mostly young Hispanic adults born in Mexico and other Latin American countries, currently enrolled in DACA will remain protected from deportation and eligible to obtain renewable two-year work permits.
The ruling does not prevent Trump from trying again to end the program. But his administration is unlikely to be able to end DACA before the Nov. 3 election in which Trump is seeking a second four-year term in office.
The ruling marks the second time this week that Roberts has ruled against Trump in a major case following Monday’s decision finding that gay and transgender workers are protected under federal employment law. That case also had a plaintiff with Long Island ties.
The court’s four other conservatives including two Trump appointees, Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh, dissented.
“Today’s decision must be recognized for what it is: an effort to avoid a politically controversial but legally correct decision,” conservative Justice Clarence Thomas wrote in dissent.
Trump was not pleased with the ruling.
“These horrible and politically charged decisions coming out of the Supreme Court are a shotgun blast into the face of people that are proud to call themselves Republicans or Conservatives,” the president tweeted after the ruling was announced.
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