Posted on March 31, 2020

‘Dreamers’ Tell Supreme Court Ending DACA During Pandemic Would Be ‘Catastrophic’

Adam Liptak, New York Times, March 27, 2020

Aldo Martinez, a paramedic in Fort Myers, Fla., is one of about 27,000 young undocumented immigrants known as Dreamers who work in health care. {snip}


Mr. Martinez, 26, came to the United States from Mexico when he was 12, and he is able to work thanks to a program announced by President Barack Obama in 2012, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA. The Trump administration wants to end the program, and at a Supreme Court argument in November, a majority of the justices seemed inclined to let it.

Mr. Martinez said it would be foolish to take an army of doctors, nurses, pharmacists, technicians, researchers and other health care workers off the battlefield in the middle of a pandemic.

“It’s imperative that the Supreme Court take account of conditions that did not exist back in November,” he said. {snip}

The status of health case workers like Mr. Martinez was the subject of an unusual Supreme Court filing on Friday, one that urged the justices to take account of a new reality.

“Termination of DACA during this national emergency would be catastrophic,” the filing said.

Ramis Wadood, a student at Yale Law School who helped prepare the filing, said the contributions made by the program’s recipients are well known.


Muneer I. Ahmad, a law professor at Yale who represents the DACA recipients in Friday’s filing, said the basic arguments were not new. Still, he said, “the pandemic casts into sharp relief how catastrophic the termination of DACA would be at this point.”

In the past, President Trump has praised the program’s goals and suggested he wanted to preserve it. “Does anybody really want to throw out good, educated and accomplished young people who have jobs, some serving in the military?” he asked on Twitter in 2017.

But when the Supreme Court heard arguments in November, the president struck a different tone. “Many of the people in DACA, no longer very young, are far from ‘angels,’” he wrote on Twitter. “Some are very tough, hardened criminals.”


When the case was argued in November, Solicitor General Noel J. Francisco, representing the administration, said it was entitled to end the program.

“DACA was always meant to be a temporary stopgap measure that could be rescinded at any time, which is why it was only granted in two-year increments,” he said. “So I don’t think anybody could have reasonably assumed that DACA was going to remain in effect in perpetuity.”