GUEST EDITORIAL: Delay DACA decision while country is in turmoil

The Dallas Morning News Editorial Board (TNS)
The US Supreme Court is seen in Washington, DC, May 12, 2020. (Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images)

Right now, protesters have taken to the streets and the coronavirus pandemic has caused mass unemployment. We are in the middle of a tumultuous time, filled with fear and anxiety. Still, it is important to keep sight of an important event before us.

People waited anxiously Monday to see if the Supreme Court would rule on whether President Donald Trump’s decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program in 2017 was legal and will continue to do so each week as the unofficial end-of-June deadline draws closer. As the situation stands now, we are weeks if not days from knowing whether DACA will stay in place or whether thousands of immigrants who came to the U.S. as children will lose stability as they are stripped of work permits and are put at risk for deportation.

Given the ongoing pandemic and the national unrest over George Floyd’s killing, the Supreme Court should delay its decision on DACA. Yes, the court’s set deadline is this month; however, more than 20 cases are still pending that it will have to rule on in the next few weeks, and two weeks of oral arguments were already delayed, meaning that there is already reason to push decisions to July.

We have argued before, and continue to believe, that people brought here as children should have the right to stay. But if the court were to wrongly decide they should be returned, this is not the time to do so. The court’s decision will impact more than 100,000 young people in Texas, where the second highest number of DACA recipients live, behind only California. Dallas alone has the third-largest DACA population in the U.S., according to data from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

Program recipients don’t threaten the well-being of the country. In fact, more than 30,000 DACA recipients are considered essential workers, a seventh of whom serve as health care workers, according to research organization the Center for American Progress. Coming to a decision now will only exacerbate the stress and anxiety already present among communities with DACA residents as well as the broader public.

It wouldn’t be unusual to delay the unofficial deadline given all that’s happened the last few months, and extending it would relieve some pressure for the court and the country. A final decision on DACA is inevitable, but right now we should focus on healing the wounds torn open by the pandemic and civil unrest. Let’s save DACA for later.

— From the Dallas Morning News Editorial.