November 12, 2019 at 11:21 pm EST | by Michael K. Lavers
LGBTQ advocacy groups urge Supreme Court to uphold DACA
The U.S. Supreme Court on Nov. 12, 2019, heard arguments in a case that could determine the fate of a program that allows young undocumented immigrants to remain in the U.S. and obtain work permits. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday heard oral arguments in a case that could determine the future of a program that allows young undocumented immigrants to remain in the U.S. and obtain work permits.

The Trump administration in 2017 announced it would end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. California Attorney General Xavier Becerra is among the attorneys general from 20 states and D.C. that challenged the White House’s decision to terminate DACA, which the Obama administration enacted in 2012.

“Today, we stood up for American values, the rule of law and America’s Dreamers,” said Becerra after the oral arguments. “You learn from a very early age that there is a right way and there is a wrong way to do things.”

“The federal government tried to terminate DACA the wrong way,” he added. “Today, we stand here very proud of the arguments that were made on behalf of the 700,000 DACA recipients. We’re here to stand up for the right way to do things. Together, we’re here to say DACA is legal and an American success story.”

The Associated Press reported more than 600,000 immigrants have benefited from DACA. Human Rights Campaign President Alphonso David on Tuesday in a tweet said, “LGBTQ people are Dreamers and Dreamers are LGBTQ people.”

“#SCOTUS must uphold the rights of Dreamers and protect the futures of countless young people who call this country home and are crucial to the future of our nation,” said David.

The National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance on Monday noted 35 groups signed its brief in support of DACA that it filed with the Supreme Court.

The Washington Blade in 2017 reported the U.S. deported a gay Salvadoran couple who lived in Virginia and were raising a young child together, even though they are both DACA recipients. An LGBTQ activist in the Salvadoran capital of San Salvador said one of the deported men was brought to the U.S. from El Salvador when he was 6-months-old.

The National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance on Monday noted many LGBTQ DACA recipients are from countries in which consensual same-sex sexual relations remain criminalized.

“More is at stake for LGBT DACA recipients because many come from countries where homosexuality is a crime,” said the organization in an email to supporters. “Trump’s cancellation of DACA could result in more than just a deportation, but imprisonment or a death sentence.”

Tuesday’s oral arguments took place against the backdrop of continued outrage over the Trump administration’s hardline immigration policies. The Supreme Court will issue its ruling during the 2020 presidential campaign.

Michael K. Lavers is the international news editor of the Washington Blade. Follow Michael

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