PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday halted — at least temporarily — President Donald Trump’s effort to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.
It is a former Pres. Barack Obama-era program that protects hundreds of thousands of immigrants, brought to this country as children, from deportation.
Over 6,000 residents in this state, including hundreds in our area, are Dreamers — young undocumented immigrants.
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For most, America is the only country they know, and President Obama initiated the DACA program in 2012 to protect them, a program President Trump sought to repeal in 2017.
Chief Justice John Roberts joined the four more liberal justices — Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan — in ruling that President Trump did not follow proper procedures to repeal DACA.
That temporary reprieve was good news for one local Dreamer.
“It’s a blessing. I’m excited. I’m speechless right now because I can’t believe it myself,” Monique Bernal Herrera told KDKA’s Jon Delano on Thursday.
Herrera, who was brought to Pittsburgh by her parents when she was 4 years old, grew up here and has been protected from deportation by DACA.
“It meant I had an opportunity to work, to continue studying, to have a driver’s license, to have an actual ID,” she says.
“They have attended our schools. They have pledged allegiance to our American flag. They are more American than some of us that were actually born here,” says Monica Ruiz, executive director of Casa San Jose, a local organization that helps Spanish-speaking immigrants to this region.
But rescinding DACA is not over yet, says University of Pittsburgh law professor Sheila Velez Martinez.
“The case now goes back to the District Court, and the government is going to have to choose what it’s going to do once that case is remanded,” says Martinez.
That’s a worry for Ruiz, who says much more needs to be done.
“Dreamers still need a pathway to citizenship. And not only that, the 11 million undocumented people in this country also need a pathway to citizenship,” Ruiz said.