When Jose, 22, tries to remember coming to the U.S. from Mexico, the details are faint. He was just five years old when he and his mother moved to California to live with Jose’s dad, who was working in the Salinas Valley. It was a huge risk for Jose’s parents to move the family away from everything they knew in Mexico, and the decision changed his life. Jose is undocumented, which he only learned as he prepared to graduate from high school. “When I started applying for colleges, I realized I didn’t have a social security number. It was only then that I really found out.” In the process of applying to colleges, Jose discovered he was eligible for DACA, a federal program which afforded him the opportunity to work and continue to attend school in the U.S.
If the Supreme Court decides to take up DACA litigation in its’ upcoming term, Jose could lose these protections, along with nearly 700,000 other young immigrants. In 2018, the Justice Department petitioned for certiorari in the face of conflicting rulings from several lower courts, with the intention of expediting the case to the Supreme Court. Supporters of DACA have fared well in the effort to keep the program going, with courts in Washington, DC, New York and California blocking a shutdown of the program, but DACA’s future still hinges on either congressional legislation or a ruling by the Supreme Court. If the Supreme Court agrees to intervene and hear the case, there could be a decision on DACA as soon as this summer.