US Supreme Court Throws DACA Recipients a Lifeline, While Trump Administration Strikes Down Temporary Work Visas for Skilled Workers & Asylum Seekers
In June, the US Supreme Court blocked President Trump’s plan to allow for 700,000 “DREAMers” to be deported. As a result, those who are eligible for DACA may now be able to apply as, while the administration has not accepted new applicants since 2017, this may now be different due to the Court’s recent decision.
Below, we discuss the decision in greater detail, as well as several other measures recently taken by the administration that warrant consulting with an immigration attorney if you or a loved one are planning on immigrating to the US, especially if there are any alleged criminal histories at issue:
The Origins Of The DACA Program & Its Rescission
Under President Obama, Individuals who were brought to the United States as children were granted temporary legal status if they graduated from high school or were honorably discharged from the military and passed a background check under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. However, President Trump’s previous Attorney General Jeff Sessions revoked the program, claiming that President Obama had unconstitutionally circumvented immigration laws in starting the program via executive order.
The Supreme Court Takes Issue with Trump Administration’s Lack of Explanation
According to the Court, in revoking the DACA program, Trump administration officials failed to offer any explanation or justification. As the majority pointed out, many people have come to rely on the program; enrolling in education programs, starting degrees and businesses, purchasing homes, starting families, having children who are US citizens, and paying billions of dollars in taxes every year. Because none of these concerns were addressed, the administration’s decision to revoke it was found to be arbitrary and capricious. And while the administration eventually offered its justification in court, the majority pointed out that an agency must defend its action at the time it acts, not when a case is already in court. In essence, the Court appeared to be saying that the administration’s unwillingness to take responsibility for abolishing the program by explaining its reasoning and instead trying to shift that job to the courts by making general statements about the previous administration does not satisfy requirements under the Administrative Procedure Act.
Does That Mean DACA Recipients Are Safe?
Still, the Court did point out that the president does have the authority to cancel the program if it is done properly. This means that while DACA recipients have a lifeline for now, the issue is far from settled. Whether or not Trump will have another chance to go after the program will likely depend upon whether he is re-elected, as he will otherwise likely run out of time.
Executive Order Limits Foreign Workers, Freezes Green Cards & Work Visas Through 2020
In late June, President Trump issued an executive order barring a number of foreign workers and curbing immigration visas through the end of 2020. Specifically, the executive order suspends H-1B, J, L-1, and other temporary work visas for skilled workers, affecting what is estimated to be more than 500,000 jobs. The administration is justifying the order by claiming that it is necessary to protect US workers following job losses due to the pandemic. Those professions expected to be affected include skilled workers such as those who work in technology, corporate executives, and foreign au pairs.
Trump had already temporarily suspended issuing green cards in May, but had stopped short of going this far. A number of business and industry groups have already expressed concerns, pointing out that this is counterproductive, given that H-1B visas are used to fill positions that are not easily found in the American workforce.
USCIS Excludes Asylum Seekers With Alleged Criminal Histories
In addition, US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) finalized a rule that forces eligible asylum-seekers to wait a full year before applying for a work authorization and automatically excludes anyone with DUIs and other alleged criminal histories.
Questions or Concerns? Contact an Experienced Immigration Attorney
To speak with an experienced NYC immigration attorney about any immigration-related questions or concerns, contact Mark I. Cohen, Esq. today.