DACA recipients ask Supreme Court to consider their work in fight against coronavirus

DACA recipients ask Supreme Court to consider their work in fight against coronavirus

Originally published by CNN

Undocumented immigrants who work as health care providers are asking for their efforts fighting the coronavirus to be taken into consideration as the Supreme Court considers the the Trump administration's bid to phase out the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

A letter sent to the Supreme Court states approximately 27,000 Dreamers are health care workers -- including 200 medical students, physician assistants, and doctors -- some of whom are now on the front lines in hospitals across the country.
Michael J. Wishnie, a lawyer for some of the DACA recipients who are involved in the case, said he sent the letter to highlight how society has come to rely on Dreamers, one factor the justices will consider as they deliberate.
The court heard arguments concerning the Obama-era program, which allowed some undocumented immigrants who had been brought to the US as children to stay in the country without fear of deportation, last November but has yet to render an opinion.
"The public health care crisis," Wishnie wrote, "throws into sharp relief DACA recipients' important contributions to the country and the significant adverse consequences of eliminating their ability to live and work without fear of deportation."
The letter details the roles some DACA recipients are playing, including Jirayut Latthivongskorn who is a resident physician at the Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital among others.
In 2017, the Trump administration announced that DACA had been created "without proper authority" and that it would be phased out. Lower courts ruled against the administration, however, saying it had acted arbitrarily when phasing out the program in violation of the law. The courts allowed renewals in the program to continue while the Supreme Court mulls the issue.
"Termination of DACA during this national emergency would be catastrophic," Wishnie wrote.
As the justices draft opinions, they will take into consideration the fact that the agency was required to consider the impact terminating DACA would have on employers, states and cities, health care providers and communities.
At oral arguments, long before the coronavirus broke out, some of the justices pressed the government on the relevant consequences -- referred to as "reliance issues" in legalese -- the Court should consider when determining whether the government did not follow proper procedures when seeking to shut down the program. Justice Stephen Breyer, for example, highlighted health care organizations, labor unions, educational associations and military organizations that depended upon DACA recipients. He asked Solicitor General Noel Francisco whether the government had considered the impact its decision would have.
"Here, Secretary Nielsen explicitly considered the reliance interests," Francisco said.
The case should be decided by June.


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