PORTLAND, Ore. — Oregon Gov. Kate Brown called the Supreme Court ruling that blocks President Donald Trump from ending legal protections for 650,000 young immigrants a "historic victory" on Thursday morning.
In Thursday's 5-4 ruling, Chief Justice John Roberts and the court's four liberal justices rejected the Trump administration's arguments that the 8-year-old Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program, commonly referred to as DACA, is illegal.
Brown said 12,000 Dreamers in Oregon "serve in our military, work in our hospitals, pay taxes, and make our communities stronger." She said that the Supreme Court's decision keeps DACA in place for now, but warned that Trump may still try to end the program.
"Words matter, and rhetoric from the White House has given rise to a very disturbing sentiment that has long targeted communities of color and especially undocumented individuals," Brown wrote in a prepared statement. "Across the country, including right here in Oregon, there is a level of underlying bigotry and hate that shows its face in ways that were unimaginable before. I urge the federal government to let this decision stand and not to continue the relentless attacks on our immigrant communities. I will continue to stand with our undocumented community and fight against those attacks."
Dreamers across Oregon celebrated the decision.
Sandra Villa Luna, a school secretary at Woodlawn elementary school in Northeast Portland, has been a DACA recipient for more than ten years.
Luna was brought to this country as a baby by her mother from Mexico. She called the decision a relief, for now.
"I'm excited, but at the same time, still worried, if that makes sense. I don't feel like it's the end of it," Villa Luna said.
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee also weighed in, saying the state is home to more than 16,000 Dreamers.
"Today’s decision puts an end to the uncertainty these young people have faced due to the actions of the Trump administration," he wrote in a statement. "These aspiring women and men are an integral part of our communities, contributing talent and promise to our state. They built their lives here, go to school and work here, and know no other place as home."
Read the full statements from Brown, Inslee and other leaders at the bottom of this article
Thursday's ruling was the second big liberal victory at the court this week, following Monday's ruling that it's illegal to fire people because they're gay or transgender.
Trump strongly criticized both rulings on Twitter, accusing the nation's highest court of making "horrible" and "politically charged decisions" that are "shotgun blasts into the face" of people who call themselves conservatives. He later tweeted, "Do you get the impression that the Supreme Court doesn't like me?"
DACA covers people who have been in the United States since they were children and are in the country illegally. In some cases, they have no memory of any home other than the U.S.
The program grew out of an impasse over a comprehensive immigration bill between Congress and the Obama administration in 2012. President Barack Obama decided to formally protect people from deportation while also allowing them to work legally in the U.S.
But Trump made tough talk on immigration a central part of his campaign and less than eight months after taking office, he announced in September 2017 that he would end DACA.
On Twitter, Obama celebrated the Supreme Court ruling and encouraged his Twitter followers to vote for Joe Biden for president.
"Eight years ago this week, we protected young people who were raised as part of our American family from deportation. Today, I'm happy for them, their families, and all of us," Obama tweeted.
Full statement from Oregon Gov. Kate Brown:
Today the U.S. Supreme Court took significant action to protect dreamers all across our nation. Dreamers, brought to the United States as children, embody the American dream. While the Supreme Court kept DACA in place for now, the president may still try to end the program. Oregon's 12,000 valued Dreamers serve in our military, work in our hospitals, pay taxes, and make our communities stronger.
Oregon will always be a welcoming, safe place for all. Our 33-year-old Sanctuary Law prevents Oregon from enforcing federal immigration law, and I will uphold this law and stand with Oregonian Dreamers. We are at our best when we focus on what we share in common, not what divides us.
Words matter, and rhetoric from the White House has given rise to a very disturbing sentiment that has long targeted communities of color and especially undocumented individuals. Across the country, including right here in Oregon, there is a level of underlying bigotry and hate that shows its face in ways that were unimaginable before. I urge the federal government to let this decision stand and not to continue the relentless attacks on our immigrant communities. I will continue to stand with our undocumented community and fight against those attacks.
We can celebrate this historic victory and still recognize we have work to do to ensure every Oregonian can live free from bigotry and hatred because of their immigration status or the color of their skin.
Full statement from Washington Gov. Jay Inslee:
More than 16,000 Dreamers call Washington home, and today’s decision puts an end to the uncertainty these young people have faced due to the actions of the Trump administration. These aspiring women and men are an integral part of our communities, contributing talent and promise to our state. They built their lives here, go to school and work here, and know no other place as home.
It was cruel, senseless and unlawful for the Trump administration to spend the last four years threatening these hardworking individuals with deportation. The president’s xenophobic and relentlessly anti-immigrant agenda — focused on building walls and deporting friends, neighbors, co-workers and family members — is an affront to the principles this nation was founded on. It does not reflect who we are as Americans.
With its ruling, the Supreme Court ensures DACA recipients can continue to live their lives and pursue the incredible opportunities promised to them eight years ago, unencumbered by the threats of a callous president. These young people are Americans.
Full statement from Portland State University President Stephen Percy:
The U.S. Supreme Court decision today striking down President Trump’s executive order to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program is a historic victory for our “Dreamers” at Portland State University and more than 700,000 young people across the nation.
The 5-4 ruling authored by Chief Justice John Roberts enables DACA students to continue their academic journey at PSU and elsewhere without fear of deportation.
The ruling also is an opportunity to reaffirm PSU’s commitment to our DACA students and their families. We provide academic, cultural and social support to Dreamers through an array of programs and services such as Multicultural Retention Services that includes Latino Student Services, and the Cultural Resources Centers, which include La Casa Latina, Student Legal Services and others.
It’s also a reminder that under Oregon law, qualified undocumented residents are eligible to attend PSU and other public universities across the state with in-state tuition and receive financial assistance.
I also want to reaffirm that PSU is a sanctuary — a safe place — for all of our students. The Campus Public Safety Office does not enforce federal immigration laws, we will not consent to immigration enforcement activities on campus and we protect confidential student information, such as immigration status, as required by law.
As vital members of our PSU family, we will continue to do everything we can to support DACA students in their efforts toward obtaining a PSU degree. We want all of our students to feel welcome regardless of their national origin or immigration status.