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Justices reject end to protections for young immigrants

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The Supreme Court has rejected President Donald Trump's effort to end legal protections for 650,000 young immigrants, a stunning rebuke to the president in the midst of his reelection campaign.

The outcome seems certain to elevate the issue in Trump's campaign for reelection, given the anti-immigrant rhetoric of his first presidential run in 2016 and immigration restrictions his administration has imposed since then.

The justices rejected administration arguments that the eight-year-old Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program is illegal and that courts have no role to play in reviewing the decision to end DACA.

More than 5,000 people in Michigan are signed up for the DACA program, according to themost recent figures from the federal government.

Many had been anticipating a ruling from the court. Some, such as Maria Ibarra-Frayre, had been mentally preparing for the worst.

“But today it was much better than we thought it was going to be,” Ibarra-Frayre said on Stateside. “I feel relief.”

Ibarra-Fraye lives in Southeast Michigan and works with We The People.

She was joined on Stateside by Julio Mejia-Andino, another DACA recipient who lives in Southeast Michigan.

Mejia-Andino said he was also relieved by the Supreme Court’s decision, and he took it as one sign that more Americans support legal status for immigrants who came to the U.S. as children, immigrants often referred to as Dreamers.

“I think more people are for it,” he said. “And I hate to say it, but how can you be against it? It just is something that is baffling to me to understand that.”

An NPR poll in 2018 found 65% of Americans support legal status for immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children.

The Supreme Court’s decision won’t be the final say on DACA. The Court left open the door for the Trump administration to end the program through other means. And DACA recipients in Michigan say they know the fight for permanent legal status isn’t over.

“DACA is not a permanent solution,” says Daniel Lopez, a DACA recipient from Grand Rapids. “We should definitely celebrate. We should definitely take this as a victory. However, we should mobilize and come together and build a coalition that advocates not only for DACA recipients but the 11 million undocumented immigrants in the US.”

The goal of realizing permanent legal status for all DACA recipients, and the rest of the nation’s undocumented immigrants can only come about through a change in federal law. A change that can only be made by members of Congress.

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The Associated Press is an independent global news organization dedicated to factual reporting.
Dustin Dwyer reports enterprise and long-form stories from Michigan Public’s West Michigan bureau. He was a fellow in the class of 2018 at the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard. He’s been with Michigan Public since 2004, when he started as an intern in the newsroom.
Stateside is produced daily by a dedicated group of producers and production assistants. Listen daily, on-air, at 3 and 8 p.m., or subscribe to the daily podcast wherever you like to listen.
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