Republican Lawmakers Criticize Supreme Court Ruling on DACA

June 19, 2020 Updated: June 19, 2020

Republican lawmakers criticized the Supreme Court ruling in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) case, which ruled in favor of DACA recipients, 5-4, for the time being. GOP lawmakers criticized the decision as “unlawful” and “unconstitutional.”

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said he was “stunned” to learn of the recent Supreme Court decision in the case, saying the original action taken by President Barack Obama was “illegal on its face.”

“I was stunned. I told the president Tuesday night, ‘You know, I don’t think you can lose this one.’ Well, what do I know?” said Graham.

On Thursday the Supreme Court handed down a decision that the DACA program can continue because the Trump administration failed to follow the right procedures when it tried to rescind DACA.

Although the program could be abolished in the future if the Trump administration follows proper procedures, the decision sets up an election-year fight over a program that has offered protection to about 700,000 illegal immigrants who were brought into the United States as children.

“Here’s what the court said: You can rescind the policy of Obama, you just have to do it differently then you chose to do it. It’s not, if you can overturn the DACA program is how you do it,” Graham told Fox News.

“So, I think Clarence Thomas said it right. I think the DACA program created by President Obama is illegal on its face. No president can say 700,000 people here illegally all of a sudden have legal status, no matter how sympathetic the cause may be,” Graham continued.

According to the Hill, Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) said the Supreme Court appears to be legislating.

“What really troubles a lot of people is that some of the folks that the Republican Party has put on this bench … because they say that they understand that their job is to interpret the law, not to write it, are becoming activists,” Rubio said. “It’s concerning.”

Chief Justice John Roberts, traditionally considered a member of the court’s conservative bloc, said in a statement that it is not whether the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) can rescind DACA, it’s the procedure that the administration followed in doing so.

His opinion was joined by liberal Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan.

“This was a disastrous week at the Supreme Court,” said Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas). “Today’s lawless #DACA decision was about 5 justices who want amnesty to continue and are hoping that, in November, there will be a Democratic President who also ignores the law.”

Some republican lawmakers criticized Roberts directly, since his vote broke the tie.

“Chief Justice Roberts does it again, convoluting the law to appease the D.C. establishment,” said Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio).

“It cannot be the law that what Barack Obama has unlawfully done, no president may undo,” Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) said in a statement. “Yet John Roberts again postures as a Solomon who will save our institutions from political controversy and accountability.”

In 2017 President Donald Trump expressed sympathy for DACA recipients and said his cancellation of the program would force Democratic lawmakers to make a deal to allow them to stay, but no such deal was reached. Graham defended the president.

“Those people who talked about immigration and President Trump, he presented a package to the Congress that gave 1.9 million DACA recipient eligible people a pathway to citizenship for merit-based immigration reform and border security,” said Graham. “So for those who say he hasn’t tried to solve the problem: You’re wrong.”