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  • Washington Highlights

    Supreme Court Hears DACA Case; AAMC Continues Advocacy

    Heather Alarcon, J.D., Senior Director, Legal Services
    Matthew Shick, Sr. Director, Gov't Relations & Regulatory Affairs

    The Supreme Court of the United States Nov. 12 heard oral arguments in three cases, consolidated under DHS v Regents of the University of California, challenging the President’s 2017 rescission of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) program. The AAMC led 32 other medical organizations in an amicus brief supporting the further preservation of DACA [see Washington Highlights, Oct. 4].

    AAMC President and CEO David Skorton, MD, Nov. 7 penned a Washington Post op-ed and Nov. 12 appeared in an MSNBC interview with Ali Velshi discussing how the elimination of DACA would cause 27,000 health care workers to lose their work authorization, impairing access to health care for millions of American patients.

    For review in this case is the Government’s challenge to lower court holdings that its rescission of DACA was “arbitrary and capricious” under the Administrative Procedures Act [P.L. 79-404], and that more importantly the action was within the Executive’s prosecutorial discretion, and thus not subject to judicial review.

    In an overflowing courtroom — including President of the University of California system Janet Napolitano (who led the creation of the DACA program in 2012 while serving as Homeland Security Secretary), congressional leaders, and several dozen DACA recipients who were plaintiffs in the case — the debate focused both on the threshold question of the rescission’s judicial reviewability and on the sufficiency of the Administration’s process in rescinding DACA. 

    Several Justices questioned whether the Administration had given sufficient consideration to the impact of rescission. Beginning with health care organizations, Justice Stephen Breyer referenced hundreds of different groups and institutions who had filed amicus briefs articulating their reliance on the continuance of DACA.

    A decision from the Court is expected next spring. Until then, the AAMC continues to urge for legislative action that provides a long-term solution to work authorization for DACA recipients [see Washington Highlights, July 12].