Lesson of the Day: ‘They Achieved the American Dream. Will the Supreme Court Let Them Keep It?’

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Lesson of the Day: ‘They Achieved the American Dream. Will the Supreme Court Let Them Keep It?’

6. What did you learn from the article? Which quotation or image stands out for you as particularly affecting or meaningful? Explain why.

7. Return to the warm-up activity: Does the article affect or change how you view the issue of immigration, in general, or DACA and Dreamers in particular?

Choose one or both of these activities to do after finishing the article.

Activity No. 1: In your opinion, should DACA protections for Dreamers like Jorge and Evelyn be ended or preserved?

Read the eight quotations about DACA included in this PDF and sort them into three piles. If you’re doing this activity in class, we encourage you to work with a partner and take turns reading the quotations aloud.

Pile 1: Quotations I/we primarily agree or sympathize with.

Pile 2: Quotations I/we primarily disagree or do not sympathize with.

Pile 3: (If working with a partner) Quotations we cannot agree on.

Then, choose one quotation from Pile 2 that you disagree with and write a thoughtful response capturing why you disagree. In your response, be sure to explain what you think about the DACA program and what you hope the Supreme Court or Congress will do.

Activity No. 2: How do you hope the Supreme Court will decide this case?

In “Supreme Court Appears Ready to Let Trump End DACA Program,” Adam Liptak writes about the Nov. 12 hearings:

The Supreme Court’s conservative majority on Tuesday appeared ready to side with the Trump administration in its efforts to shut down a program protecting about 700,000 young immigrants known as “Dreamers.”

The court’s liberal justices probed the administration’s justifications for ending the program, expressing skepticism about its rationales for doing so. But other justices indicated that they would not second-guess the administration’s reasoning and, in any event, considered its explanations sufficient.

Still, there was agreement among the justices that the young people who signed up for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, were sympathetic and that they and their families, schools and employers had relied on it in good faith.

The article continues:

In the past, Mr. Trump has praised the program’s goals and suggested he wanted to preserve it. “Does anybody really want to throw out good, educated and accomplished young people who have jobs, some serving in the military?” he asked in a 2017 Twitter post.

But as the court took up its future on Tuesday, Mr. Trump struck a different tone. “Many of the people in DACA, no longer very young, are far from ‘angels,’” he wrote on Twitter. “Some are very tough, hardened criminals.”

In fact, the program has strict requirements. To be eligible for DACA status, applicants had to show that they had committed no serious crimes, had arrived in the United States before they turned 16 and were no older than 30, had lived in the United States for at least the previous five years, and were a high school graduate or a veteran.

Justice Sonia Sotomayor said the DACA recipients were justified in relying on Mr. Trump’s earlier statements, which she paraphrased. “They were safe under him,” she said, “and he would find a way to keep them here.”

The roots of the decision to shut down the program figured in the argument, as the justices parsed two sets of rationales from successive heads of the Department of Homeland Security.

After contentious debates among his aides, Mr. Trump announced in September 2017 that he would wind down the program. He gave only a single reason for doing so, saying that creating or maintaining the program was beyond the legal power of any president.

“I do not favor punishing children,” Mr. Trump said in his formal announcement of the termination. But, he added, “the program is unlawful and unconstitutional and cannot be successfully defended in court.”

What do you think? What do you predict the Supreme Court will decide in this case? What do you hope the Supreme Court will decide?