Responses to Supreme Court DACA ruling

Responses in Kansas today to the U.S. Supreme Court’s DACA ruling:

Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly’s statement:

“Today’s decision by the United States Supreme Court to uphold protections for Dreamers was the right one. Dreamers have contributed much to our communities and to our economy, and ending DACA would have cost our state more than $335.9 million every year.

“There are more than 6,000 DACA recipients in Kansas – they serve in our military work in our hospitals, teach our kids and pay taxes. They were brought here as children, this is their home, they belong here.”

Statement from Kris Kobach, a candidate for U.S. Senate:

“The five justice majority on the Supreme Court made a mockery of the law today. The good news is that all nine justices agree the Trump administration can cancel DACA. The bad news for immigration law enforcement is that it will take a long time to complete the task. As the attorney who first challenged the DACA amnesty in the summer of 2012 representing 10 ICE agents, I can say with certainty that DACA was illegal from its inception. But today the Court says that to cancel an illegal policy, the Trump administration must jump through regulatory hoops. That is true with respect to a normal legally correct regulation, but that is not true when the policy itself violated both federal law and the Administrative Procedure Act.”

ACLU of Kansas statement:

“Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals or DACA is safe for now, and the ACLU of Kansas joins the millions of people nationwide celebrating this morning’s Supreme Court decision declaring President Trump’s efforts to end the lifeline program as reckless and unreasonable.

“Kansas has more than 6,000 DACA recipients who grew up here and have dedicated their lives to give back to our communities. Many of these DACA recipients are frontline workers supporting us and protecting us through this unforgiving COVID-19 pandemic. This was a fair and just decision.
But this victory is only temporary.

“The majority opinion, written by Chief Justice John Roberts, made it clear that the Trump Administration, through the Department of Homeland Security, has the authority to rescind DACA with solid justification. The problem here was that the way his administration went about trying to end the program was “arbitrary and capricious,” and therefore violated administrative law.

“Like the constant vigilance we have dedicated to guarding civil liberties civil rights at the ACLU of Kansas, protecting the rights of undocumented young people remains an on-going fight.

“We are in solidarity with the undocumented youth and their families. We celebrate the immeasurable contributions DACA recipients bring to our families, our communities, our state, and our country. We are here for the celebration, but more importantly, for the work ahead.”

UnidosUS President and CEO Janet Murguía released the following statement in response to the Supreme Court decision that temporarily allows the more than 700,000 young people in DACA to remain in the country:

“Today the Supreme Court sided with the vast majority of Americans by protecting DACA recipients from President Trump’s inhumane mission to deport as many people as possible. This decision is a victory for DREAMers — and for the entire country. DREAMers are already home, building families, creating communities and helping lift up everyone in America. Today’s decision validates the need for Congress to act and deliver the lasting decision DREAMers and the millions of American families they are members of deserve. And today we celebrate the commitment and fight of young advocates across the country who have fought so hard to make today possible.”

Thousands of DACA recipients in Kansas and Missouri are protected for now, after Supreme Court ruling

Kansas City area DACA recipients and immigration attorneys react to Thursday’s 5-4 decision to uphold the program, which grants temporary protection from deportation for those brought to the United States without authorization as children.

by Laura Ziegler and Jodi Fortino, KCUR and Kansas News Service

Thousands of so-called “Dreamers” in Kansas and Missouri will be protected for the time being.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Thursday that the Trump administration could not move forward with its plan to end the 2012 program known as DACA, or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.

Kansas City attorney Rekha Sharma-Crawford has counseled hundreds of immigrants about the program in the last eight years.

“For the hundreds or maybe even thousands of DACA recipients here locally, this is a day of relief, that they can finally feel like that constant waiting on the judge’s decision is over,” she said.

There are more than 6,800 DACA recipients in the state of Kansas and more than 3,500 in Missouri, according to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. Immigration lawyers, activists, and advocates, however, believe those numbers do not reflect the total number who came to the country at a young age and are now currently working or studying in the United States.

The 5-4 decision does not indefinitely clear DACA recipients. Sharma-Crawford said the administration has the power to come back at a later time and undo the program.

“I don’t think there is time during this administration, especially with the election so close,” she said. “But Dreamers are still at risk as long as Congress fails to act. So the Supreme Court today offered a ray of sunshine in a very dark time but I don’t think it’s all over yet.”

The DREAM Act was first introduced into Congress in 2001. It was designed to allow temporary legal status to immigrants who entered the United States as minors and meet certain criteria. Despite years of debate, Congress has failed to pass the law.

Maria Franco is a senior engineering student at UMKC and a DACA recipient. She moved to the U.S. from Mexico with her family when she was 2 years old
For Franco, the ruling doesn’t mean activists can relax. She says there will still be fear among DACA recipients because it’s clear there are those who still want to overturn the program.

“It’s a big sigh of relief, for sure, because now we don’t have to worry until they try it again,” she said in response to the Supreme Court ruling. “It’s a little scary. The fact that the ruling was five to four means there are four judges that are supporting Trump basically.”

Franco said the Trump administration’s attempts to block DACA have impacted many of her friends, who are now not allowed to apply.

“I’m trying to talk to some lawyers to see, ‘Hey guys, when can we start having new applicants apply?’ Because I know so many kids that need to apply to the program so they can stay at least protected for a little bit,” she said. “Even if it is for two years, so they can go to college and get a job so they can pay for school.”

Franco said the recent protests in support of the black community will help those Latino activists and their allies.

“More people are going to start pushing forward DACA and the immigrants,” she said. “We’re getting a team to try to advocate for that and see what we can do since Black Lives Matter is also on board and there is so much going on in the world right now.”

Complicated logistics for the young adults who have received DACA

The DACA program applies to those who came to the United States before they were 16 in 2012, and have lived here for at least 5 years. Recipients have to have been enrolled in high school or college and without any history of serious crime.
Zach Roberson is an immigration lawyer in Olathe, Kansas, who has counseled dozens of DACA recipients. He says he was pleasantly surprised by today’s ruling.

“It’s going to help a lot of my clients, obviously, and I’ve already gotten several calls that people are very happy,” he said Thursday morning.

But he reitereated this is not the end of the road for DACA recipients.

In his ruling, Chief Justice Roberts said, “We do not decide whether DACA or its rescission are sound policies. We address only whether the agency [Department of Homeland Security] complied with the procedural requirement that it provide a reasoned explanation for its action.”

Roberson said this still leaves DACA recipients in limbo, wondering if their status will later be denied, and exactly how the Trump administration and Congress will react.

“There is still a lot we will be sorting out for some time,” Roberson said.

Irene Caudillo, president and CEO of El Centro, said the agency has supported hundreds of DACA recipients in Wyandotte and Johnson counties with thousands of dollars in application and renewal fees. Many of these young people have for many years worked on the front lines of health care, education and essential jobs.

In spite of the uncertainty that lingers for those with DACA status in Thursday’s decision, she says today is a happy day.

“We are grateful. We cried. We cheered,” she said. “We are excited for the many young people who have only known Kansas City as their only residency and community.”

Laura Ziegler is a community engagement reporter and producer at KCUR. Email her at or reach her on Twitter @laurazig.
The Kansas News Service is a collaboration of KCUR, Kansas Public Radio, KMUW and High Plains Public Radio focused on health, the social determinants of health and their connection to public policy. Kansas News Service stories and photos may be republished by news media at no cost with proper attribution and a link to

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