Thursday morning, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the Trump administration can not immediately end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, more commonly known as DACA. The program protects 700,000 young immigrants who were brought to the United States as children from deportation.
Camila Flores, a south side Milwaukee resident and DACA recipient, is celebrating the decision.
"The morning of the DACA decision, I wasn't expecting the decision to happen today," says Flores. "We've been waiting since 2019. Everybody was just really excited. And I'm just really happy, right? Like I get to stay another two years."
DACA recipients have the right to legally work in the United States, which raises the stakes for many who are 'DACAmented.'
"To a lot of people, this is everything," Flores says. "To a lot of my friends who are nurses, who are on the front lines, like this is everything. To all of my educator friends who didn't know if they were going to go back to work this next school year, that is a huge victory for them and it shouldn't get like truncated because because it is a victory."
However, many DACA recipients, including Flores, say the Supreme Court decision is a Band-Aid covering a much deeper uncertainty.
"It feels we're celebrating crumbs when we deserve the entire cookie, and it definitely feels like there's like a big Cookie Monster in the White House right now that just wants to eat them all and not share," says Flores.
Milwaukee immigration attorney Laura Fernandez states the decision does not cement DACA or protect it from legal challenges in the future.
"It's not setting a precedent that the DACA program is legal. They're not saying that," Fernandez says. "They're just saying that the Trump administration cannot end it the way the way it was ended."
According to Fernandez, the Trump administration can still try to rescind DACA.
President Trump criticized the court decision on Twitter, saying: “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.”
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.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 18, 2020
Whether the administration will attempt to do so during a period of civil unrest and a pandemic is unknown.
"I can't speculate about what the Trump administration will do," Fernandez says. "I think that obviously they're going to be very unhappy with this decision. It's a big blow. What they do with it, I just don't know."
But if the administration were to enter into litigation, the process would likely take many months, putting the administration’s efforts against the program in limbo until after the November election.
As for Camila Flores and other 'DACAmented' residents, the ruling is not the end, but symbolizes a moment where they hope to galvanize support.
“I just hope people keep fighting," says Flores. "I hope people know that liberation means liberation for all regardless of legal status, and then the right to exist in this country as just people.”