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Supreme Court DACA Decision Met With Cautious Optimism From Utah's Immigrant Community

KUER File Photo
The Supreme Court blocked the Trump Administration's attempt to end the DACA program. Around 8,500 undocumented immigrants in Utah participate in DACA.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Thursday that the Trump Administration’s attempt to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, won’t stand. The program defers deportations of undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children and gives them a legal work permit.

Right now, there are around 8,500 DACA recipients in Utah, according to the Migration Policy Institute. 

That includes Alonso Reyna Rivarola. He came to Utah from Peru when he was 11 years old and is an undocumented immigrant. 

Reyna Rivarola said he’s happy about the Supreme Court decision, but he isn’t celebrating just yet.

“It’s a win, definitely, but not the win,” he said. “For me, the win would be comprehensive immigration reform and something that definitely includes every single undocumented immigrant who is part of this country.”

He said his DACA status gives him privileges and protections that other undocumented immigrants don’t have but should. 

“We all deserve to be recognized for what we bring to this country,” he said.

Mayra Cedano is the executive director of Comunidades Unidas, an advocacy organization for Utah’s Latinx community. She said the ruling means around 12,000 immigrants in the state could be eligible for the program, though they’re waiting for clarification from the federal government.

Cedano said she also wants a permanent solution for all undocumented immigrants. But even with the Supreme Court ruling, she said Comunidades Unidas will remain cautious about the future of the DACA program. 

“We know that we stand in a very anti-immigrant administration, so this doesn’t mean that DACA is going to stay here forever,” she said.

In a statement Thursday afternoon, Joseph Edlow, the deputy policy director for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, said the Supreme Court’s ruling had “no basis in law and merely delays the President’s lawful ability to end the illegal Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals amnesty program.”

Regardless, Cedano said she’ll take a moment to honor the achievement.

“This just didn’t happen magically,” she said. “A lot of work had to happen behind the scenes and obviously this also shows the leadership and the power within our own communities.”

Cedano said Comunidades Unidas will focus its efforts on helping recipients renew their DACA status and assisting newly eligible individuals with their applications.

Emily Means covers politics for KUER. Follow her on Twitter @Em_Means13

Emily Means is a government and politics reporter at KUER.
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