DACA ruling could deport thousands on front lines

Washington DC

Many DACA recipients work in hospitals, grocery stores and other essential services

WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — Among those working on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic are DACA recipients who have more to fear than just the coronavirus.

An imminent U.S. Supreme Court ruling on the DACA program could force undocumented immigrants who arrived in this country as children to leave the U.S.

Jonathan Rodas is a DACA recipient on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic. 

“I work in the operating rooms so I see patients that come into the operating rooms with the virus,” Rodas said. 

DACA recipients like Rodas who arrived in the United States illegally as children are protected from deportation by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program put in place during the Obama Administration. 

Many DACA recipients work in hospitals, grocery stores and other essential services but Nevada Congresswoman Dina Titus said DACA recipients who are students were excluded from accessing coronavirus-related financial aid. 

“We got a ruling from [U.S. Secretary of Education Nancy] Devos who said, ‘No they are not included.’ So that’s something we want to fix in the next bill,” Titus said. 

For DACA recipients, the next blow could come from the Supreme Court which is expected to issue its decision on whether the president can end the DACA program. That could mean deportation for these immigrants who are urging the high court not to issue an opinion in the middle of a pandemic.

“I would feel useless because I’m not going to be able to help anybody and that’s my passion: to help people,” said Rodas.

But Republican South Dakota Sen. Mike Rounds said the court should go ahead and issue its order. 

“Once the DACA decision has been reached, then you will see Congressional action one way or another,” he said. Rounds added Congress needs to revamp all of U.S. immigration law including DACA. 

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