Undocumented migrants who work as health care providers are asking for their efforts in fighting COVID-19 to be considered as the Supreme Court contemplates the Trump administration’s plan to cancel the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
A letter forwarded to the Supreme Court states that about 27,000 Dreamers are health care workers — including 200 medical students, doctors, and physician assistants — some of whom are presently on the front lines in hospitals across the country.
Michael J. Wishnie, an Attorney for some of the DACA persons who are involved in the case, said he sent the letter to show how society has come to rely on Dreamers, one factor the justices should consider as they deliberate.
The court heard argument concerning the Obama-era program, which allowed some undocumented migrants who had been brought to the United States as children to stay in the country without fear of deportation, last year but has yet to render an opinion.
“The public health care crisis,” Wishnie stated, “throws into sharp relief DACA recipients’ outstanding contributions to the country and the great adverse consequences of removing their ability to live and work without fear of deportation.”
The letter highlights the roles some DACA individuals are playing, including Jirayut Latthivongskorn who is a resident doctor at the Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital among others.
In 2017, Trump government said that DACA had been created “without proper authority” and that it would be cancelled. Some lower courts ruled against the administration, saying it had acted arbitrarily when abolishing the program in violation of the law. The courts, however, allowed renewals in the program to continue while the Supreme Court deliberates the issue.
“Termination of DACA during this national emergency would be disastrous,” Wishnie wrote.
As the justices draft opinions, they may take into consideration the fact that the court was required to consider the impact eliminating DACA would have on states, cities and employers, health care providers and communities.
At oral arguments, long before the coronavirus outbreak, some of the justices bear down on the government on the relevant repercussions– referred to as “reliance issues” in legalese — the Court should mull over when determining whether the government did not follow proper procedures when seeking to terminate the program.
Justice Stephen Breyer, for instance, pointed out health care organizations, educational associations, labour unions, and military organizations that depended upon DACA recipients. He asked Solicitor General Noel Francisco whether the Trump administration had considered the impact its decision would have.
“Here, Secretary Nielsen clearly considered the reliance interests,” Francisco said.
The case should be decided by June 2020.