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Constitutional Rights & the Public’s Health

Department of Homeland Security, et al. v. Regents of the University of California, et al

Overview

Department of Homeland Security, et al. v. Regents of the University of California, et al., (United States Supreme Court, June 18, 2020): The Supreme Court of the United States refused to allow the Trump Administration to terminate the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program that permits certain immigrants—those brought to the U.S. as children outside of immigration laws—to avoid deportation and remain in the U.S. In a 5-4 decision, the Court found that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) violated the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) when canceling DACA and putting the so-called Dreamers, nearly 800,000 residents, at risk of deportation. The Court found that DHS did not adequately consider crucial issues related to termination of the program. Specifically, DHS did not adequately consider the deleterious impact on the Dreamers and did not consider a less extreme path to achieve the agency’s goals. As a result, the agency’s action was arbitrary and capricious. Except for Justice Sotomayor, the majority of the Court did not find that DHS acted with animus toward Latinx people in terminating DACA. And although the Administration’s actions were vacated, the Court did not conclude that terminating DACA would be unconstitutional and did leave the door open to DHS terminating or severely restricting the program as long as steps to do so are consistent with the APA. Read the decision here.

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