In a 5-4 decision Thursday, the United States Supreme Court issued a decision that has hundreds of thousands of “dreamers” breathing a sigh of relief.
The high court voted to keep DACA, or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, in place. The program allows people who were brought into the country illegally with their parents at a young age to renew their work permit every two years.
Those children have been nicknamed "dreamers."
Channel 2 anchor Jorge Estevez spoke with a metro “dreamer” who’s been fighting to stay in metro Atlanta since she was nearly deported almost 10 years ago.
Jessica Colotl said after a 2010 traffic stop, she spent nearly 37 days at a detention center.
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“When you got pulled over, what went through your mind? This is it? I’m out of here?” Estevez asked Colotl.
“Absolutely. It was a really scary moment,” Colotl said. “For someone who is in the country without a status, a simple traffic violation can put you at risk of deportation. So it’s really scary.”
With the high court’s decision Thursday, it means Colotl is able to continue her work as an immigration paralegal.
In his decision, Chief Justice John Roberts wrote: "We do not decide whether DACA or its rescission are sound policies. The wisdom' of those decisions 'is none of our concern.'"
Despite Thursday’s decision, local immigration attorney Charles Kuck said the DACA program could still be in danger.
“So DACA is still on the chopping block and can still be canceled by the administration. They just have to follow the rules this time,” Kuck said.
“What are the rules that they need to follow in order to get rid of DACA that they did not follow?” Estevez asked Kuck.
“The administration has to go through what’s known as the APA, the Administrative Procedures Act, where they have to run a notice in the federal register saying, ‘Hey, we’re going to cancel this program, and here is why,’” Kuck said.
Kuck said people would then be given the chance to weigh in with their opinions — a process that could take as little as 90 days.
In a tweet earlier Thursday, President Donald Trump made it clear he will be taking action.
“As President of the United States, I am asking for a legal solution on DACA, not a political one, consistent with the rule of law. The Supreme Court is not willing to give us one, so now we have to start this process all over again,” Trump wrote.
Sen. David Perdue also expressed disappointment with the decision and blamed Democrats for “refusing to engage” with the president on this issue, saying in part:
“If we want to permanently solve this issue and prevent it from happening again, we need a bipartisan solution that strengthens our borders and provides a permanent solution for DACA recipients, who are still facing uncertainty.”
Colotl hopes that solution will allow her to remain in the country she calls home.
“I think immigration has been a hot topic for years now, and the fact that both parties can treat us as bargaining chips is really scary. I just hope that one day we are going to find a permanent solution and find a path to citizenship,” Colotl said.
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