MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Dreamers are feeling some relief.
This after the US Supreme Court rejected President Donald Trump’s effort to end legal protections for young immigrants.
The ruling came down Thursday morning and affects more than 650,000 so-called dreamers who were being brought to the country as children.
The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy was designed to protect undocumented immigrants brought to the US as children, often referred to as dreamers. Niney percent hold jobs and 45% are enrolled in school. Nearly 30,000 are working in the healthcare system.
The Trump administration ended the program three years ago. That decision was then challenged in court.
The Florida Immigration Coalition said the ruling was a surprise to them as they were not expecting a favorable ruling. The say dreamers have been living in constant fear and this will alleviate some of that. They add that the fight is not over. At this point what they are looking for our laws to change to make protections permanent.
“We are also looking for a permanent solution. We know the vast majority of Americans offer bipartisan support to dreamers. They want them to stay here permanently. Unfortunately, DACA does not offer those protections,” Melissa Taveras with the coalition.
“I just felt a big weight come off my shoulders when that decision came out,” said Nery Lopez when she heard the news. “It’s a small victory in a chaotic time. It’s a small grain of salt telling us that something bigger is coming, a change is coming.”
Lopez’s story is like so many others. She was brought to the US by her parents when she was a young child.
“I came here when I was four from Mexico, a small town in Mexico. I don’t know anything about that area. I grew up here,” she said.
Because of DACA, Lopez said her life changed. She was able to get a driver’s license, work, and go to FIU to earn a biology degree, all because she had legal status.
“I got a full-tuition scholarship because of my being able to have DACA. Without DACA, I would not have been able to go to college on a full-ride,” she said.
Miami-Dade Public Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho said he know first hand what it is like to live here as someone who is undocumented. He was obviously thrilled with the high court’s ruling.
“I am elated and relieved over the Supreme Court decision for a number of reasons. Number one, the end of the DACA program back in 2017 that resulted in this court case was capricious, arbitrary, and targeted individuals, 90% of whom are employed, 50% of home our students, many do not speak the language of the parents. They are American in every sense of the way other than citizenship,” he said.
Republican Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart and Democratic Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, in a rare moment of agreement, were very happy with the ruling.
They each said Congress has to come up with something permanent.
“The Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the DACA program was the right one, and now hundreds of thousands of DACA recipients in Florida and beyond will continue to contribute billions to our state and on the frontlines of the fight against COVID-19 as doctors, nurses, and emergency responders. But now is the time to listen to the will of the people who overwhelmingly believe that Dreamers should have a permanent path to citizenship so that Trump cannot endanger their lives again,” said Mucarsel-Powell in a statement.
“I am pleased that the individuals who benefit from DACA are still protected, but as I’ve repeatedly said, both sides have been playing politics for far too long on this issue, and it’s time to come up with a permanent solution for those who are here at no fault of their own,” said Diaz-Balart.
Congresswoman Donna Shalala also weighed in.
“There are an estimated 11,000 Dreamers in South Florida and they are an integral and invaluable part of our community. Today’s decision by the Supreme Court upholding DACA reinforces what we have always known – home is here for Dreamers. This is an important victory, but we must go further and make sure that we create a path to citizenship for these young people who contribute so much to our country and its future success.”