TUCSON - The Supreme Court of the United States is expected to rule very soon on the constitutionality of the Obama-era program known as the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA.
The ruling could affect the legal status of about 800,000 young immigrants, including 30,000 who live in Arizona.
However, during the COVID-19 pandemic, Tucson immigration lawyer Mo Goldman wants the high court to postpone the decision.
Thousands of DACA recipients are essential workers, Goldman told News 4 Tucson.
“You have upwards of 30,000 people who work in the health care industry,” Goldman said. “We have nurses, technicians, doctors, home health aids.”
With the unemployment rate soaring to more than 14 percent, Goldman argued now is not the time to rule on DACA.
“By ending DACA, you are going to see upwards of 800,000 individuals who are able to work and benefit this country, suddenly lose their ability, whether it be automatic or gradually to work legally in the United States,” Goldman said.
Jaime Tadeo was brought to Tucson from Guadalajara, Jalisco when he was 10 years old.
Tadeo knows this case is in front of the Supreme Court but during the pandemic, it hasn’t been top of mind.
“It makes me feel like I’m just a number, just a token,” Tadeo said.
The Federation for American Immigration Reform believes the Supreme Court should make a call on DACA without delay.
“There really is no reason to drag this out any longer,” Ira Melhman, FAIR media director, said. “We need to determine or the Supreme Court needs to determine whether a sitting president has the authority to simply change a policy by his predecessor.”
This potential change is one that Tadeo, and many like him, fear.
“We don’t know anything about how to work or move ourselves around Mexico,” Tadeo said. "My little brothers don’t even remember. It’s like starting a different identity which is traumatic and stressful. I don’t any other place other than Tucson.”
This decision from the Supreme Court could come at any time from now until June.
Goldman said all eyes are on Chief Justice John Roberts as the swing vote.