Pundits predict win for Trump as Supreme Court prepares to rule on DACA in 2020

November 11, 2019

Since it was implemented in 2014, President Barack Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program has been a source of controversy. But while President Donald Trump has attempted to rescind the program, opponents have blocked him through legal challenges.

But next year, the Supreme Court will finally decide on the fate of DACA, according to the Associated Press — and pundits say the Trump administration has a good shot at winning its case.

Battling it out

Among the reasons Trump is predicted to reign victorious: five of the nine justices seated on the nation’s highest court are considered to be judicial conservatives, giving the Trump administration a solid advantage going into the DACA case. What’s more, former Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano believes that there are political advantages to pursuing the matter.

“Perhaps they think it better that they be ordered by the court to do it as opposed to doing it correctly on their own,” Napolitano told the AP.

Solicitor General Noel Francisco, who is arguing the administration’s case before the Supreme Court, offered a different perspective.

“We think the way we did it is entirely appropriate and lawful. If we did it in a different way, it would be subject to challenge,” Francisco said at a Smithsonian Institution event exploring the current Supreme Court term, which began in October.

Cutting a deal

But while Trump may be on solid legal ground, Reason Foundation senior analyst Shikha Dalmia believes that Trump would still be smart to find a legislative compromise before the case is adjudicated.

“Even though Trump will almost certainly prevail in court, he shouldn’t necessarily celebrate. The Supreme Court’s ruling is expected in 2020 spring or summer. In other words, just a few months before the November elections,” Dalmia argued in June. “If the court gives him the green light to scrap DACA but he dithers in mass deporting Dreamers, he will lose face with his hardline restrictionist supporters whom he is trying to mobilize to the polls.”

On the flip side, Dalmia also expressed concern that deporting Dreamers could have an adverse effect on Trump’s re-election chances.

“If he does deport, he will inflame public opinion given that Dreamers are a highly sympathetic group,” she wrote. “After all, two-thirds [of] Americans support the legalization of Dreamers because they don’t want to visit the ‘sins’ of their parents on the children. Rounding up folks who have lived in America all their lives and deporting them to countries that they scarcely know won’t make for good optics, to put it mildly.

“Trump’s best bet,” Dalmia concludes, “would be to cut a deal with Democrats on Dreamers before the court rules.”

But even if he doesn’t, with the Supreme Court leaning solidly to the right, it looks like a win for President Trump is in the bag. And that’s worth celebrating.

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Adam Peters

Adam Peters is a Conservative Institute staff writer.