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Special Coverage Of The Supreme Court’s DACA Decision

Cover image for podcast episode

PHOTO BY MANUEL BALCE CENETA / AP

Above: Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) students gather in front of the Supreme Court on Thursday, June 18, 2020, in Washington.

The Supreme Court didn't say Trump can't end DACA, just that his administration went about it the wrong way. We’ll explain the court’s majority opinion. Also, what are the political implications of the DACA ruling for the November election. And, advocacy groups say about 40,000 Daca eligible immigrants live in San Diego County. Today’s decision means they are safe from deportation - for now. We hear the voices of two San Diego DACA recipients.

Speaker 1: 00:01 Another surprising ruling by the U S Supreme court reactions from DACA recipients and legal and political experts. I'm Mark Sauer infer Morian Kavanaugh. This is KPBS midday edition it's Thursday, June 18th in a stunning rebuke of the Trump administration. The Supreme court led by chief justice, John Roberts, upheld DACA. The Obama era protections for immigrants brought to the U S illegally as children deferred action for childhood arrivals shield some 650,000 residents from deportation and allows them to work. We start our extended discussion today with Dan Eaton, a constitutional law expert and partner at the San Diego firm of seltzer Caplan McMahon Invitech. Welcome Dan.

Speaker 2: 00:59 Thank you. Good to be with you

Speaker 1: 01:00 now, Dan, start with the ruling itself. Another five, four decision. How surprising was this?

Speaker 2: 01:06 Well, it was surprising to the extent that you had chief justice joining the four, uh, liberal, uh, members of the Corps. And essentially saying that the Trump administration's attempt to rescind DACA was done the wrong way. There was really no dispute. All nine members of the court agreed that the department of Homeland security and therefore the Trump administration had the authority, uh, to rescind DACA. Uh, what the court said was that they did it the wrong way, uh, for the purposes of the administrative procedure act.

Speaker 1: 01:40 And, uh, where did the justices line up? Uh, we've, we've heard so much of course, that this is a very conservative court, but, uh, as we've seen this week, there are some, uh, surprises to be had.

Speaker 2: 01:51 Well, uh, there was a surprise because, uh, chief justice Roberts ended up being the swing vote, which was what was expected when, uh, justice Anthony Kennedy retired. So you had, what is becoming a conventional surprising lineup where you had chief justice Roberts and the four liberals aligned against the four generally considered more conservative members of the court, including Trump's two appointees, uh, Gorsuch and Kavanaugh.

Speaker 1: 02:19 And again, I mean, we can call it a technicality or call it what you will, but it really was a procedural requirement here. Wasn't getting into the whole meat of the thing.

Speaker 2: 02:28 Well, except it is important because, uh, the procedures matter when you were talking about administrative rules and what, uh, basically, uh, the court said, uh, in a nutshell, is that then acting secretary Dukes should have considered of the possibility of rescinding, just the extension of benefits to DACA recipients, even while preserving the aspect of DACA, uh, that results forbearance from removal from this country or deportation the court said she should've considered that option. And didn't, and that made what she did arbitrary and capricious indeed forbearance is that the very heart of, uh, a program that is after all called deferred action for highly hood arrivals. And therefore that was something that, uh, the acting secretary should have taken into account in rescinding DACA. And didn't, she focused on, uh, she has said it was rescinded because the extension of benefits, namely social security, Medicare, and work authorization of benefits, uh, were, uh, improper. So she was going to rescind it on that basis. She also said, look, the secretary of the court also said the secretary should have considered, uh, the, uh, hardship on the DACA recipients. The fact that DACA recipients, after all had started careers, started businesses married and even had children. And that auto have been taken into account in deciding whether to rescind this program and offering the justification for rescinding it.

Speaker 1: 04:09 The liberal wing of the court did not agree with one aspect of chief John Roberts, his opinion, what was that?

Speaker 2: 04:16 That's not quite right. Actually eight members of the court actually agreed with, uh, chief justice Roberts, uh, decision to reject, uh, the challenge to the rescission of DACA based on equal protection grounds, namely that it disproportionately affected Latinos justice, Sonia Sotomayor, a Barack Obama appointee. I was alone in saying she would have allowed the equal protection challenge, uh, to continue at this very preliminary stage of the litigation, but, uh, understand that, uh, chief justice Roberts, uh, did have eight of the course, including his fork, a conservative president, joining him in saying that the equal protection challenge had no merit.

Speaker 1: 05:00 And now let's do a step back question here. It wasn't a decision on the merits of, of DACA, as we've said, are you surprised Roberts is again, siding with the liberal wing, um, because it seems like the makeup of the court and so much that's been written about Donald Trump's appointees here, uh, might be, uh, not what people thought.

Speaker 2: 05:21 Well, there are a couple of things first, as you'll see often in, uh, papers. The answer to your question is no, I'm not completely surprised because remember that roughly, uh, although with different players, of course, roughly the same lineup was in play when the court upheld the affordable care act. Also with chief justice, John Roberts, writing the opinion, uh, understand that you'll read a lot about chief justice Roberts as the chief justice being an institutionalist and being concerned about the perception of the court as a political institution. Uh, so you do see him from time to time, uh, siding with the liberals, even when the four conservative more conservative justices and chief justice Roberts is certainly conservative, uh, say no, uh, the, uh, liberal policy, if you want to call it that overreaches.

Speaker 1: 06:11 And where does today's decision leave? The 650,000 or so dreamers, the recipients of protections under the DACA program.

Speaker 2: 06:19 That's the fascinating thing about it. What happened with this ruling is that, uh, the court, uh, punt it and sent it back to the department of Homeland security to try again, potentially if they want to rescind a DACA. So there is a potential that the department of Homeland security could again, try again and issue a rescission order, but you can expect that it would be subject to court challenge. And this is one of the points that the dissent made, particularly a Lido who said, look, what we have here is a situation where one administration imposes an, uh, a policy, uh, through, uh, one of its, uh, agencies. And then it takes a full term of the succeeding administration to try to undo it subject to litigation. Then it's just set back for further review. Bottom line is the dog. Our program is not necessarily out of harm's way from being rescinded, particularly, presumably uh, if this precedent gets reelected

Speaker 1: 07:20 justice, Clarence Thomas wrote the lead descent for justices Samuel Alito, jr. And Neil Gorsuch. What did Thomas say in his dissent?

Speaker 2: 07:29 What he said was that DACA was, uh, illegal. It was an overreach. It wasn't a done according to, uh, the, uh, procedures in the administrative procedure act. And it went beyond the authority of the immigration and nationality act. Congress did not extend it. The department of Homeland security, the discretion to exclude from removal, a whole class of identified potentially removable people. It was an overreach. He said of the June, 2012, uh, DACA memorandum. And that should have ended the discussion, but with respect to the, uh, compliance with the administrative, uh, administrative procedure act justice, Thomas said, look, the explanation that was offered by both acting secretary, Duke and her successor, secretary Nielsen were sufficient. We can't go around, uh, piecing and taking apart of the justifications for the purposes of trying to invalidate a validly issued, uh, administrative rescission, particularly when the rescission occurred, when the same procedure as the original DACA program, he said that doesn't make sense

Speaker 1: 08:40 and justice Brett Kavanaugh wrote his own descent. Of course we should note Kavanaugh was of course, a Trump appointee. How is his opinion different from the other three conservative justices?

Speaker 2: 08:51 Well, justice Kavanaugh simply reinforced the idea that greater should have been paid to the, uh, rationale that the two secretaries gave for deciding to resend. He did not agree with the court majority, that this is the kind of things that ought to be second guessed in the name of calling the rescission arbitrary and capricious.

Speaker 1: 09:15 And if the chief justice had agreed with Thomas and the dissenters and DACA had been decided on whether relief for the dreamers must come from the legislative branch, not the courts, how might this a decision have gone?

Speaker 2: 09:27 Well, the decision would have ended DACA, and that would have put the dreamers in immediate peril of a deportation. But the end of the day, the basic difference between the two sides, the majority and the descent was, uh, was whether, uh, the procedures that were used to end DACA were, uh, sufficiently justified to allow it to be ended when it did. There was no dispute about the fact that it could be ended, but the descent any way thought that, that if you were going to implement a policy like DACA, it ought to be done through the legislative branch. It didn't belong in, uh, and having the executive branch implement DACA. And certainly it said the judicial branch should not be in the business of overturning a, uh, justified recision of an administrative decision to implement DACA in the first place.

Speaker 1: 10:30 And what about justice Thomas comment or illusion that chief justice Roberts was kind of keeping an eye on the politics and all that's gone on in the streets here or recently inciting with the liberal judges? What do you make of that?

Speaker 2: 10:44 Well, I, I mean, that is one of the arguments fat will be made that in effect that the court was moved by recent events, in some ways the chief of the justice, Benjamin Cardozo once said that the, uh, great tides and currents that in golf, the rest of men do not turn aside in their course and pass the judges by, uh, it, uh, chief justice Roberts, in his opinion, any way doesn't show any sign that that was driving his opinion in any way, but it is not surprising to see that in an interesting additional point about justice Roberts, uh, dissent is that he warns of that, what this does, what the majority opinion does is it gives an unusual incentive to do party administrations, to issue rules. That it will be very, very hard for their successors to undo. If the justification for rescinding is not viewed as sufficient from the point of view of five members of the United States Supreme court.

Speaker 1: 11:44 And where does this issue go from here on the legal front, at least

Speaker 2: 11:48 on the legal front. It goes back to the department of Homeland security, but it's very hard to how the department of Homeland security is going to be able to get a rescission of DACA and go through all of the judicial steps before the next presidential election and before the next president, or if this president continues, uh, before the next presidential Mark operation in January of 2021, it continues,

Speaker 1: 12:16 right? So even if the Trump administration acts swiftly to offer more reasons in order, the DACA program ended again, you don't see this playing out before the November election. I mean, there would be lawsuits again, I imagine

Speaker 2: 12:30 exactly just as swiftly as the Trump administration were to act to, uh, rescind again, the DACA program, you could see that the people that challenged that rescission would be in court and court actions are not going to be done in the space of a few months, certainly not court actions that result in Supreme court action. Remember some of the lower court rulings here, uh, took place as long ago as 2018 docket itself dates back eight years. In fact, to this month, June of 2012. So this is a long process. Litigation is designed to be long, and that's why at least some of the members of the court said, this is a fight between the political branches that doesn't belong in the judicial branch.

Speaker 1: 13:18 I've been speaking with Dan Eaton, a constitutional law expert here in town. Thank you very much, Dan, for joining us,

Speaker 2: 13:24 good to be with you.

Speaker 1: 13:36 Advocacy groups say about 40,000 DACA eligible immigrants live in San Diego County. Today's Supreme court decisions means they are safe from deportation for now. We're now going to hear voices from two San Diego dreamers, they'll say Garcia is a DACA recipient and immigration attorney. She filed a lawsuit against the Trump administration over its decision to end DACA, which was consolidated into the case before the Supreme court also joining us is DACA recipient, Irving Hernandez, and Michelle Solari human rights council for Alliance San Diego, a social justice, nonprofit. How's everybody doing today? Welcome to the show.

Speaker 3: 14:17 Hi, thanks for having us. Thank you.

Speaker 4: 14:19 Thank you for having us.

Speaker 1: 14:20 And they'll say, let's start with you. How are you feeling this morning?

Speaker 3: 14:24 My goodness excited. Um, w it's definitely a moment to celebrate. We're very proud of this accomplishment. Uh, it has been a long time coming and, uh, it's a, it's a day to celebrate today.

Speaker 1: 14:39 Irving, this decision was unexpected. How surprised were you by this ruling?

Speaker 4: 14:43 I was extremely surprised, but I can't tell you how relieved I feel. It's been several months of living anxiety. Um, not being able to sleep, knowing that when this decision comes, it's going to be hectic. And, um, you know, DACA was never about the work permit. It was about protections against deportation and as border dreamers, you know, we live a militarized reality. We have roaming patrols, we have, uh, border patrol checkpoints on all major freeways. And so I just felt relieved.

Speaker 1: 15:16 And Dulce is a DACA recipient. What does this decision mean for you personally?

Speaker 3: 15:22 Oh my goodness. It means that we can keep planning our lives for so long. Uh, since the recession was announced on September, 2017, our lives have been put in limbo. We have undergone an enormous amount of stress figuring out what our next steps would be in life. It's very difficult to plan for your life when we don't know whether we're going to be deported or not. And when that would be a, so this isn't the end for us. We're going to keep fighting for a path to citizenship. And so those that's what's next for us, but for this moment we, we celebrate, uh, for me, it means that I'm able to maintain my office open in and employ us citizens. It means that I can, uh, continue with my plans of adopting a child as I was, as they had prior to the doctor position. And so it just means that we can breathe in peace, knowing that for now we're not deportable

Speaker 1: 16:16 and Dulce, you were brought by your parents to the U S from Mexico when you were six years old, what sort of doors did DACA open up for you?

Speaker 3: 16:24 So many doors to be able to open my business as a, as a lawyer, uh, was a moment of great pride for not just myself and my family, but for the community itself. It was another form of win. Every time that we thrive in our communities, it's a, it's a moment to celebrate. And, uh, unfortunately when the DACA program was rescinded so many young folks, particularly the hundred thousand DACA undocumented folks that didn't get the chance to apply for DACA their lives, we put on limbo. Um, and so for us to be able to retain our DACA status for now, it means that we can plan ahead, um, and move on with our lives. As we move forward in the movement to obtain a path to citizenship.

Speaker 1: 17:13 And Irving, when did you come to the U S and how has DACA impacted your life here in San Diego?

Speaker 4: 17:19 So I came to the United States at the age of six in 2000, and it's a DACA came at the right time. I was graduating from Montevista high school, um, in 2012 with a 4.2 GPA, thanks to the AP five 40 law in California. I was able to enroll and get accepted into San Diego state. Um, but I didn't know if I was able to, um, you know, financially, um, pay for all of my, uh, but fortunately with DACA, I was able to find employment within a month of getting my work permit in October and I in 2017, graduated from San Diego state as an aerospace engineer without any debt, um, to my name. So DACA has truly allowed me to pursue the career. Um, even though I was brought here by my parents, will I see it as their dream? You know, they're the initial dreamers, and I wouldn't have what I have today, if it weren't for them.

Speaker 4: 18:22 And at the age of 25, I fully take responsibility of being here in the United States. Um, but you know, looking ahead, I currently cannot work in the aerospace industry since I would need status under the ITR regulation, either residency or citizenship under the DACA program. Uh, you know, the DACA program does not fall under, uh, the ITR regulations. So looking ahead, you know, we must continue fighting for a permanent solution, one that will lead to a pathway to citizenship, but understanding that we cannot give up others in our community, uh, to obtain any immigration benefits,

Speaker 1: 19:04 dreamers like yourselves have lived with a lot of uncertainty over the past couple of years, had either of you made plans or considered what you might do had the ruling gone the other way, a dual say, start with you.

Speaker 3: 19:16 Yes. Our primary concern, if we had received an unfavorable decision would have been to prepare for the worst case scenario, which was deportation, uh, immediately, uh, this administration undoubtedly would have looked into, uh, deporting us. And so the issue would have become the problem of information sharing between USDA, uh, the agency does in charge of processing our DACA applications and the agency that is in charge with deporting us. Um, the biggest fear was that because this administration knows who I am and where I'm at, um, that they would come after me personally, my family, and that I would be in a, in a, um, prison cell immediately. Um, as, uh, as we have seen time and time again, this demonstration, uh, is a cruel and its enforcement of immigration, uh, inhumane policies that are set in place. And so that was the biggest fear that we would see DACA recipients immediately be put in a detention center and deported

Speaker 1: 20:20 and Irving, uh, pretty much share those sentiments. I imagine.

Speaker 4: 20:23 Yes. And, you know, I did have that conversation with my family. Um, we sat down, we talked about it and, you know, it broke my heart to see my mother cry, but I gave my parents the confidence that, you know, other fellow activists have given me. And, you know, I told them that I was not going to back down, you know, DACA was not gifted to us. It was fought for, and I owe it to those initial dreamers that fought for DACA and obtained DACA, uh, that I would do my part. And I, I told my parents that I would not back down that I would be on the streets until I'm either detained and deported or, or who knows. Um, so, you know, we, we must stand for the most vulnerable and as this continues to progress, this movement continues to progress. You know, we understand that, uh, we cannot separate communities. Um, the fight for the undocumented person is also the fight for the black American it's. It's also for those in the LGBTQ community. Uh, you, we are fighting for an inclusive community and for a United States that serves all of us, not just one group

Speaker 1: 21:42 and Michelle, I want to bring you into this conversation up until now. DACA renewals have been ongoing, but the program has been closed to new applicants, the expect new applications to resume and, uh, any sense of how soon it could happen.

Speaker 5: 21:57 I do expect them to raise them. So DACA is going to go back to what it looked like on June 15, 2012. So initial applications will begin again, the administration hasn't said when they're going to start accepting those applications, but I would imagine that would happen pretty quickly.

Speaker 1: 22:15 And a lot of DACA recipients want to know of advanced parole, which allows them to travel outside the U S will return. What's your sense about that?

Speaker 5: 22:24 Since advanced parole was in place on June 15th, 2012, I would imagine that that would also be in place now. Um, we haven't received any guidance on that so far, but I would say that it was on from grounding when it was put in place in 2012,

Speaker 1: 22:40 Michelle, what's your biggest piece of advice for DACA recipients today

Speaker 5: 22:44 for today to celebrate, to take a deep breath, take it all in, know that today you are safe, but remember that there is, uh, there's planning that needs to happen. And to remember that there, there may be a pathway forward for you and to go out and do your research, meet with an attorney and see if there's any other benefits that are available to you. This is temporary, um, potentially. And so we want to push for legislation. It was a fight to get here, to have DACA, and we need to continue to fight for more permanent solution.

Speaker 1: 23:18 And Michelle, the Supreme court did not decide on DACA as a matter of policy. Uh, the court said the administration or a future administration can still end that program. If it does it properly. How big a concern is that

Speaker 5: 23:31 it is a real concern. The administration can go back, take into consideration the elements that they did not consider this time around, and they can resend the program. I, it would be difficult to do it quickly, and it would probably happen after an election. Uh, and so if the Trump administration remains an office, it is a big possibility in the next term. And so it's really important that we get out and vote.

Speaker 1: 23:58 Tell us about the webinars Alliance. San Diego is hosting the next couple of days.

Speaker 5: 24:03 So we are going to be hosting a webinar to discuss what, what all this means. What does this decision mean for DACA and the longterm in the short term? And we're going to go over different programs that are available for doc recipients, and also go over some of the worst case scenario options in the event that DACA does not stay. But in addition to these webinars, we are planning to have DACA workshops where we will be processing initial DACA applications and DACA renewals for individuals that need that service, and that will be provided for free.

Speaker 3: 24:40 Hmm

Speaker 1: 24:41 [inaudible] a while you have been able to keep your status for now, it's still temporary. Since DACA doesn't provide a path to citizenship, is citizenship still the goal?

Speaker 3: 24:51 Absolutely. We must ensure that we have a path to citizenship, not just for DACA recipients, but also for the 11 million people that are undocumented in this country, such as my parents, uh, as it was mentioned, uh, this DACA program was never meant to be permanent. It wasn't the end all. And so we're going to keep organizing, and we're going to keep demanding Congress to protect us permanently from deportation, because as you mentioned, the Supreme court, uh, did not say that, uh, DACA will be permanent. And so whether it's this administration or some other administration, um, we, we have to ensure that we have a path to citizenship. And for that, we have to make sure that we do get the vote out. Uh, we have to ensure that everyone's counted on the census as well. That is also very important work that needs to be done in our communities.

Speaker 3: 25:42 Um, as it was mentioned, this, this result today was years and years of fearless organizing to even obtain DACA. It took years and years of young DACA and young undocumented folks risking everything, deportation, their livelihoods, everything to obtain a path to citizenship. That's what we've been fighting for. And DACA was just a temporary fix to that. It was not a permanent problem solution to the problem. And so we need a path to citizenship. Um, the, um, house last year passed the dream and promise act, and we're sure that if they were to be put up for vote on the Senate, that, uh, it would pass. Uh, and, um, I, we believe that most Americans in the U S want to keep us here because they see us as fellow Americans. Uh, and I think that Congress needs to align itself with that view.

Speaker 1: 26:40 And Irvine, do you think citizenship might, uh, play a part in the political season we're in as these candidates from president on down to local elections campaign between now and November?

Speaker 4: 26:52 Yes, because having a group of people, uh, only be allowed to work, um, and roam freely here in the United States is not enough. You know, it comes to treating people with basic human decency, uh, for most of us, uh, in the undocumented community, we're very family oriented. And so a lot of us have had, uh, you know, give up the opportunity of seeing our fellow, you know, families, uh, in our countries of origin. And part of this fight to obtain citizenship is being able to say our last goodbyes. And for me, that, that, that is very personal. I had to see my grandfather passed away through Facebook, my mother and I could not, couldn't be there with him physically. And so obtaining citizenship fighting for a pathway to citizenship in its simplest form is allowing people to regain their basic human decency, basic human rights. And, you know, we must continue fighting. We must like people to any office, whether it be local state or federal to fight for that, to be willing, to restore that human decency into every single community. And so it is going to be absolutely necessary for any politician that is running to fight for and pass legislation that will protect, um, every citizen at all costs.

Speaker 1: 28:24 I've been speaking with Dulce Garcia, DACA recipient, and immigration attorney, DACA recipient, Irving Hernandez, and Michelle Soleri whose human rights council for Alliance San Diego is social justice. Nonprofit. Thanks very much to you all. Thank you for having us. Thank you. Later today, dreamers and supporters will hold a rally at 6:00 PM in front of the San Diego County administration building at waterfront park. So what are the political ramifications of today's DACA decision joining me to discuss that as political science professor, Tom Wong, who is director of the international migration studies program at UC San Diego, Tom, welcome to the program. Thanks for having me now, politics has always been one of the key elements of DACA. Start with the political debate back in 2012, when Obama announced the program, what were Republican saying then

Speaker 6: 29:22 prior to the June, 2012 DACA announcements, uh, then vice presidential hopeful, Marco Rubio, a Republican Senator from the state of Florida was throwing out a GOP version of the dream act. So that would give undocumented young people, not just temporary protection from deportation, but a permanent legislative fix. So to take the wind out of the sails of that Republican version of the dream act, we got DACA, but DACA, wasn't just the response to that Republican dream act proposal. If we also sort of think back to the months prior to June, 2012, there were undocumented young people who were sitting in on president Obama's reelection campaign offices, protesting, uh, demanding a permanent solution. And what we got was the June 15th, 2012, uh, DACA announcement.

Speaker 1: 30:24 And how has DACA been used in the year since then, by both Democrats and Republicans as our endless debate over immigration continues.

Speaker 6: 30:33 This has been an interesting political football after DACA was announced. There was celebration on the democratic side, there was also a quiet optimism that DACA represented a step toward a legislative solution. And so on the democratic side, there was hope that DACA was one short step toward a permanent legislative fix, but almost immediately after DACA was announced, you have the GOP calling it a unlawful use of a executive overreach. And so the sort of partisan name calling began almost immediately after the announcement of DACA, the news and the general public tends to focus on the sort of big legislative proposals that we see in Congress. But there have been multiple resolutions passed in the house when the GOP controlled the house that actually denounced DACA, calling it again, unlawful executive overreach. And so when we think about the context immediately after DACA and fast forward today, we still see DACA being a political football.

Speaker 6: 31:52 There are some within the GOP who see DACA as one way to core the growing Hispanic, Latino electorate here in the United States. Um, their voices are at this moment being drowned out by an administration who does not see, uh, an obligation to work on a legislative solution for undocumented young people. Um, almost immediately after the Supreme court decision today, uh, president Trump tweeted, uh, actually a couple of different tweets, um, signaling his dissatisfaction with the Supreme court ruling and perhaps previewing a series of steps that we may see in the coming days and weeks and months to try to unwind DACA again.

Speaker 1: 32:42 Right. Uh, he, uh, I wanted to specifically say one of those tweets, uh, the president said these horrible politically charged decisions coming out of SCOTUS are shotgun blast to the face of people, proud to call themselves Republicans and conservatives. That's part of the president's response today. Also wanted to get some response here, uh, from local Republicans, uh, Tony Clark, the head of the local Republican party here in San Diego County. I gave a statement to KPBS on his reaction to the ruling quote, president Obama created the DACA program out of thin air by executive order. Anything less than legislation passed by Congress is a slap in the face of legal immigrants who painstakingly follow the rules to come to America. So we wanted to get some of those voices in now, president Trump, Tom was, was using DACA as leverage early in his term and dealing with Democrats on immigration, explain how that went.

Speaker 6: 33:38 Yeah. So after the rescission of DACA, both parties, uh, started working on a legislative solution, uh, towards the end of 2018, there was hope that there could be some sort of bipartisan bill passed that would provide a legislative solution to DACA recipients. Part of that hope was a trade off that on the one hand Democrats would be getting a legislative solution, so legal status for undocumented young people. But on the other hand, president Trump would get his border wall. And so as soon as the parameters of those negotiations were defined, the negotiations collapsed fairly quickly because there was little appetite, um, on both sides to actually move from either here's a issue that needs to be resolved, which is the legal status of undocumented young people. Let's do that from the Democrat side. And then on the Republican side, it was a clear preference from the administration, from the president himself, uh, to make sure that if there was any legislative solution, that it would include funding for his border wall.

Speaker 6: 34:55 So the bipartisan attempt to, uh, attach the border wall, uh, to a legislative solution for DACA recipients, wasn't viewed as very bipartisan at all among Democrats. Uh, it was viewed as essentially the president, uh, using DACA to strong arm Democrats, into funding his border wall. Uh, it's also important to note that we actually have a legislative solution that has been passed in the house in 2019, the house passed the dream act. So the American dream and promise act has been voted up and is sitting, waiting for the Senate to take it up. But, um, despite the sort of optimism post this SCOTUS ruling, it doesn't seem like there's much appetite among GOP senators to take up legislation that would provide lawful status to undocumented immigrants, even if they are undocumented young people. Uh, we have November, 2020, uh, right around the corner. And there is concern among some within the GOP that taking on such legislation would not play well with their respective bases in an election year.

Speaker 6: 36:15 There are some dissenting voices though. So John Cornyn, a, uh, GOP Senator Senator from Texas, he is taking this opportunity to say that now is perhaps the time to think about a legislative solution and for the Senate specifically to take it up. And so a lot remains to be seen in terms of how this is going to unfold. We do not yet know the administration's next move. Is it going to try to resend DACA again, but do it lawfully this time under the administrative procedures act? Uh, we don't know whether or not the Senate is going to take up the dream act, which was passed in the house. And at the end of the day, the uncertainty is really about what's going to happen in November, 2020, but with all of that in the mix, we are, uh, guaranteed a very exciting, uh, November general election.

Speaker 1: 37:14 Well, I think nobody's going to argue with you on that. We can argue about a lot of things these days now, how might Trump use this DACA ruling in his campaign? Imagine if you will, what he might say at his upcoming and controversial rally planned for Tulsa on Saturday.

Speaker 6: 37:29 I think that the Trump administration, uh, president Trump himself, and some GOP, uh, legislators have already previewed how they are going to use this decision politically. So in one of the Trump tweets this morning, he is essentially conflating the Supreme court ruling with a concern, uh, about one second amendment rights. We saw similar language from rep Jim Jordan, a staunch Trump supporter. And so I think what we're seeing from the GOP is the use of the, uh, recent SCOTUS decisions, not just DACA, but also on LGBTQ rights to say that there is not now just executive overreach, uh, for example, with respect to DACA and president Obama, but that the Supreme court hangs in the balance and therefore reelect Trump in 2020. So I think we are seeing what the game plan is there. That is a base strategy because one of the things that we have seen over course of the lifespan of DACA from June, 2012 to present is polling so consistent polling from some of the more reputable firms in the U S that shows bipartisan support, at least among the general public for providing legal status to DACA recipients.

Speaker 6: 38:56 So the most recent poll that I have seen comes from Pew, and that was done in the first week of June. Uh, so it shows nearly three quarters of the country supporting legal status for undocumented young people who were brought to the country illegally. And when we think about the cross tabs, when we think about, you know, where Democrats are versus where Republicans are, what's important, there is that you get a majority of registered Republican voters also supporting a legislative solution for undocumented young people. And so the way that the president is playing the SCOTUS decision right now, it is very clear that it is a base strategy, but it also seems to be just a very sort of particular part of his base, given poll after poll, after poll showing Republican support for DACA recipients and for legal status for undocumented youth. I think part of what we've also seen this morning, especially from, uh, that tweet from rep Jim Jordan.

Speaker 6: 40:04 And he also has recently released a, a written statement as well, to accompany that tweet there's this satisfaction with chief justice, John Roberts. So when we think about, uh, conservatism among the GOP, what we're seeing with the Trump administration and with the sort of response to the SCOTUS ruling is that there are fractures within the GOP that I think define the more traditional, compassionate conservatism, uh, that we, you know, have, uh, you know, maybe, uh, able to attribute to, uh, folks like Reagan and, uh, you know, the Bush presidencies and a very distinct brand of Trump conservatism. And we're at an inflection point, where are we as a country? Are we willing to sort of move with Trump, uh, to that, uh, new brand of conservatism or will Republicans kind of hold the line akin to chief justice Roberts seemingly holding the line? Whereas, uh, Trump appointees, Gorsuch and Kavanaugh, um, are telling the line

Speaker 1: 41:14 now, what about Joe Biden and the Democrats, uh, what might they say in their campaigns heading toward the November election?

Speaker 6: 41:20 Well, I think the, the, the democratic platform has been sort of clear and consistent, uh, for not just several months now. So not just thinking about the democratic and the democratic, uh, presidential debates, but I mean, it's been consistent, uh, for nearly a decade when we had the first dream act vote in Congress. When we think about the Supreme court ruling for DACA recipients, the broader context here is legal status for undocumented immigrants in general, and for the first 2010 dream act boat, that was, uh, that made it through the Senate, but died in the house. There are clear partisan divides from 2010 dream act vote to present. So those clear partisan divides pit Democrats voting overwhelmingly in support and Republicans voting overwhelmingly, uh, against. And when we think about the different pillars that comprise U S immigration policy, whether it be legal admissions policy, uh, asylum policy, refugee policy, uh, as well as immigrant integration policy, the last decade has seen very sticky, partisan voting trends.

Speaker 6: 42:39 When we look at the yeses and the nos on major pieces of immigration related legislation. And so I think what we're going to see from the Democrats is a continued call for comprehensive immigration reform. Uh, the 2013, uh, bill in the Senate had both legal status for undocumented immigrants, as well as more enforcement interior enforcement, as well as increased resources for border security. So I think what we're going to see from Democrats is a renewed call for comprehensive immigration reform. I think Democrats will also use this opportunity to say that because the general public, I think, is being, becoming more knowledgeable and sophisticated when it comes to trying to understand our dysfunctional Congress. And so I think what Democrats may do is say, look, if you want comprehensive immigration reform, it's not just about the president who signs a piece of legislation, but it's also about that house majority. And it's also about that Senate majority. I've been speaking with political science professor, Tom Wong of UC San Diego. Thanks very much. Thanks for having me.

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KPBS Midday Edition

KPBS Midday Edition is a daily talk show hosted by Maureen Cavanaugh and Jade Hindmon, keeping San Diegans in the know on everything from politics to the arts.