The U.S. Supreme Court handed down another major blow to the Trump administration on Thursday.
The high court ruled the government cannot carry out its plan to shut down the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program known as DACA.
The federal program protects an estimated 800,00 migrants brought to the U.S. illegally by their undocumented parents from deportation.
It is a victory embraced by young migrants across the nation, including in North Texas.
The latest news from around North Texas.
“It’s extraordinary,” said an emotional Giovanny Torres. “We were surprised and we were shocked but we are happy.”
So-called Dreamers said they were expecting a different ruling.
“I couldn’t believe it,” said Jessica Ramirez. “We were all mentally prepared for the worst.”
Three North Texan-DACA recipients said they are all breathing a sigh of relief.
“Every day you go to work and you’re like how long am I going to keep this job,” said Mayel Valadez.
There are an estimated 113,000 active DACA recipients in Texas as of 2017, according to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.
DACA recipients and DACA-eligible individuals have paid an estimated $244 million in state and local taxes in 2019, according to the American Immigration Council.
Last fall, Ramirez and Torres joined protests outside the U.S. Supreme Court as arguments were heard over whether to allow the Trump administration to end the temporary program.
“Just makes me feel like I was part of this victor that we got,” said Ramirez of the subsequent ruling. “It’s just really it’s something beautiful.”
The High Court’s ruling means qualified, migrants with no serious criminal record will continue to be protected from deportation.
Recipients can attend college, drive and work.
“You get the same feeling that you got when you first received your [DACA] permit and you said: I can finally get a job,” said Torres.
While grateful for his continued protected status, Valadez is hoping for a permanent fix.
His bone marrow transplant has been made more difficult without legal status.
“I would like to have a path to citizenship just because I grew up here,” he said. “Literally all I know is East Dallas.”
They say ‘la lucha sigue,’ the fight continues to be accepted in the only country they’ve ever known.
“There’s days when I feel like I don’t belong here, maybe that I might not be wanted here,” said Ramirez.
She points to pending bills that would grant Permanent Residency to DACA recipients and prevent Homeland Security from sharing their information.
“We are your neighbors…We have goals and dreams and aspirations,” said Torres. “The only thing that separates us from that person walking down the street is a 9-digit number.”
In the five-four ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court stated the government failed to give an adequate justification for ending the federal program.
Chief Justice John Roberts stated the Department of Homeland Security could simply revisit its legal strategy on how to end DACA in the future.