The First Amendment Protects the Dreamers, Too

Speak out.

Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

President Donald Trump’s Department of Justice claims it has the authority to use information submitted by Dreamers who applied for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program to deport them now. It’s obviously wrong for the government to lure people in by the promise of freedom, then use what they have said against them. It may also be unconstitutional, a violation of due process that shocks the conscience and a violation of the Dreamers’ free-speech rights when they registered for DACA in the first place.

To be clear, this issue only arises if the Trump revocation of President Barack Obama’s DACA policy is itself constitutional. A lawsuit before the courts has already been amended to claim that the reversal violates the equal protection of the laws by discriminating against Latinos.

But it will be very hard for that legal argument against the DACA revocation to prevail. The stated basis for Trump’s reversal of DACA is that the program exceeded the president’s constitutional authority. That view isn’t out of left field. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit so held, and the U.S. Supreme Court split 4-4 on the issue before Trump was elected and Justice Neil Gorsuch joined the court.