As SCOTUS Takes Up DACA, Future Hangs in the Balance for Tens of Thousands of Californians

They are doctors and pharmacists, business owners and students who were brought to the United States as children, unaware that they had entered illegally or on visas that later expired. Without legal status, their hopes for the future were dim.

Seven years ago, their lives dramatically changed when the Obama administration announced it would defer deportation and allow work permits for young people who met certain residency, educational and background requirements under a policy known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.

Now their future hangs in the balance as the U.S. Supreme Court hears oral arguments Tuesday to decide whether to unravel that program, which temporarily protects some 700,000 of these immigrant young people, known as “Dreamers.”

California is home to the largest number of DACA recipients and has led the legal challenge to the Trump administration’s efforts since 2017 to wind down the program. The University of California, under the guidance of President Janet Napolitano — who crafted the DACA policy as U.S. Homeland Security secretary — is a lead plaintiff along with the state and other California entities and individuals.

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