Heard on Detroit Today with Stephen Henderson

After SCOTUS Decision, Long Road Ahead for Dreamers

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Image credit: Jake Neher/WDET

The Supreme Court ruled that the Trump administration cannot immediately end a program protecting undocumented immigrants brought here as minors. But local community members say the fight to protect “Dreamers” is far from over.

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Hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants brought here as children won a major victory yesterday in the Supreme Court.

It allowed me a chance to breathe again. It literally brought me to tears.” — Juan Gonzalez-Martinez, DACA recipient

In a 5-4 decision, the Court ruled against the Trump Administration’s attempt to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which protects “Dreamers” from deportation and allows them to work and study temporarily in the United States.

It’s the latest milestone in a years-long struggle for Dreamers, many of whom only know America as home. But, according to legal experts, this might not be the end of the legal wrangling.

We need immigration reform because what we have been doing isn’t working anymore,” says Migladys Bermudez, Staff Attorney with Justice for Our Neighbors Michigan.

Listen: Local DACA Recipient and Attorney Weigh In On SCOTUS DACA decision.


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Migladys Bermudez, a Staff Attorney with Justice for Our Neighbors Michigan, says she was surprised by the decision.

I really could not even fathom the idea that it went this way,” Bermudez says. “We were preparing, as a legal community in Detroit, for the worst,” she says. 

We don’t know what the Trump Administration is going to do. We have to find a way to submit all the DACA applications we can.” — Migladys Bermudez, attorney

One of the best things to come from the Supreme Court’s rejection of the Trump administrations bid to end DACA, Bermudez says, is that for the first time since 2016, they are allowing new applications to the program. Although the threat is still present, Bermudez says this is another step in the right direction.

The Trump Administration, through the Department of Homeland Security and Attorney General, can change immigration law in the snap of a finger,” Bermudez says. “We don’t know what the Trump Administration is going to do. We have to find a way to submit all the DACA applications we can.”

Bermudez says that while the decision to uphold DACA is promising, it is not enough. “It doesn’t seem to give me enough, it’s like half of a full course meal. I don’t just want pieces of it, I want the whole thing,” Bermudez says. “We need immigration reform because what we have been doing isn’t working anymore.”

Gonzalez-MartinezJake Neher/WDET
Jake Neher/WDET

Gonzalez-Martinez

Juan Gonzalez-Martinez is a DACA recipient from Southwest Detroit. In response to the decision, Gonzalez-Martinez says, “It allowed me a chance to breathe again. It literally brought me to tears.”

I have young family members that are close to me who will be able to apply for the first time, so they can now graduate from high school and get a work permit,” Gonzalez-Martinez says. He agrees that while the decision is a relief, it isn’t the end of the struggle for undocumented immigrants in America.

It’s a sense of relief for a lot of people, but it’s also not enough. There are millions of undocumented people who go through that struggle,” Gonzalez-Martinez says.

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