(CNN) – On Tuesday, the highest court in the nation will hear oral arguments in a case that challenges the way the Trump administration ended an Obama-era program that protected some 700,000 undocumented immigrants from deportation, putting on top of the immigration issue a topic that has been in limbo for years.
During his presidential campaign, Donald Trump, who made immigration his main issue, promised to end the program called “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals,” arguing that the executive action that brought the program to fruition was a overreach of authority. A few months after his presidency, and with a threat of demand, Trump fulfilled the promise of his campaign and asked for protections to be reduced.
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That decision provoked a protest from the defenders of immigration rights, educational institutions and business leaders, and provoked a series of legal challenges that finally brought the case before the Supreme Court. But the notion of protecting undocumented young immigrants from deportation who were brought to the United States as children originates in years of failed legislative efforts.
“If we could find a bipartisan path forward and make politically difficult decisions, we would not be here. This is simply the result of the inability of Congress to act in immigration matters, ”said Casey Higgins, a member of the Center Bipartisan Policy and former advisor to the former president of the House of Representatives Paul Ryan.
In 2001, Senators Orrin Hatch, a Republican from Utah, and Dick Durbin, an Illinois Democrat, introduced the Law on Development, Aid and Education for Foreign Minors, also known as the DREAM Act. He tried to provide young undocumented immigrants with a path to legal status and earned the group of undocumented immigrants brought to the US. UU. when they were children the nickname "dreamers".
Since then, there have been several iterations of the measure that, while different to some extent, seek to put the group on the path to legal status.
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Democrats and Republicans have sympathized with the hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States as children, many of whom were under 10 years old.
Democrats tried to reach an agreement with Trump to maintain protections at the end of 2017, but failed. Since then, other attempts to extend protections have emerged, including the "Law of Dreams and Promises" by Democratic Representative Lucille Roybal-Allard, which places so-called "dreamers" on a path to legal status. The bill was passed by the House this year, but is likely to face an uphill battle in the Senate controlled by Republicans.
The tug of war between the Democrats and Republicans about the "dreamers" has made it difficult to achieve a bipartisan commitment. Trump himself has also failed on the issue.
"Both parties cannot find where that optimal point is," said Higgins, who previously worked on negotiations.
“Republicans ask for things on the border that Democrats can never do. And for Republicans, a special path to citizenship is something that will be very difficult because there are people who have queued up that don't have a special path for citizenship, ”he explains.
Many undocumented immigrants who belong to this group cannot obtain legal status on their own because they were illegally brought to the country or left without a visa. That often prevents them from becoming legal permanent residents because one of the requirements is to have entered and resided legally in the country.
To that end, during the second term of President Barack Obama, the then secretary of National Security, Janet Napolitano, called his team to see what the executive branch could do to protect this part of the undocumented population from deportation.
"The concern I had was that there was actually a much larger population that lived in fear of deportation and could not obtain work authorization," Napolitano told CNN in a recent interview.
In June 2012, Napolitano issued a memorandum ordering the heads of the immigration agencies of the Department of Homeland Security to postpone the application of the law against undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States as children who meet certain criteria and create a program for them to apply. Obama announced the start of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program thereafter.
To be eligible, applicants had to have arrived in the US. UU. before the age of 16 and having lived there since June 15, 2007. They could not have been older than 30 when the Department of Homeland Security promulgated the policy in 2012. The beneficiaries must renew their protections every two years.
As of April 2019, the majority of DACA beneficiaries are from Mexico and Central America, according to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. The average age of the beneficiaries of the program is 25 years.
Napolitano, now president of the University of California, will attend the presentation of oral arguments in the DACA case on Tuesday.
The plaintiffs, including the University of California, a handful of states and DACA beneficiaries, will argue before the Supreme Court that the removal violates the Administrative Procedure Act, a federal law that governs how agencies can establish regulations.
"What I hope will happen is that, in the midst of an important but technical argument before APA, the court also recognizes the really harmful impact they would have if they revoked the court orders that have been granted and allow the administration to rescind DACA," Napolitano said. .