CHN: Advocates Welcome Supreme Court Decisions Protecting LGBTQ people, Dreamers

Human needs advocates were pleasantly surprised earlier this month when the Supreme Court handed down two eagerly anticipated rulings, one affirming that LGBTQ people in the workplace are protected from discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the other stating that the Trump Administration, at least for now, cannot deport Dreamers.

“For the first time, this historic decision ensures that LGBTQ people have nationwide employment protection and represents a monumental step that will help to create a safer working environment for everyone,” Imani Rupert-Gordon, Executive Director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights, said in a statement. “During a global health crisis and a growing nationwide movement to focus on supporting and protecting Black lives – particularly Black transgender lives – against systematic racism and violence, this historic ruling is both uplifting and encouraging. However, we know that our work is far from complete, and the fight for full LGBTQ equality continues.”

CHN Executive Director Deborah Weinstein joined NCLR and others in applauding the Court’s 6-3 ruling, which was written by Justice Neil Gorsuch and joined by Chief Justice John Roberts as well as the Court’s four more progressive Justices. “At a time when millions of Americans are marching in support of Black lives and to dismantle systemic racism, the Supreme Court took an important step toward reversing another form of discrimination,” Weinstein said. “But our work is not done. Discrimination against LGBTQ people still exists – and is legally permissible – in many areas, including access to stores, restaurants, and hotels; in federally funded programs such as hospitals, colleges, and adoption agencies; and in so many other areas. And it is a cruel irony that in the middle of the current COVID-19 crisis, LGBTQ people can still be denied access to the care they need. Our country’s march toward ending systemic discrimination continues on many fronts.”

And in a 5-4 decision written by Roberts and joined by the Court’s four more progressive members, the majority of Justices opined that the Trump Administration violated the Administrative Procedures Act in its effort to deport Dreamers. The Court called the Administration’s actions “capricious and arbitrary.”

The decision, for now at least, will allow the 700,000 Dreamers who benefit from DACA to remain in the country. More than 200,000 Dreamers work in industries deemed essential during the current pandemic; that includes 27,000 Dreamers who work on the front lines as medical professionals.

“Today the Supreme Court sided with the vast majority of Americans by protecting DACA recipients from President Trump’s inhumane mission to deport as many people as possible,” said UnidosUS President and CEO Janet Murguia. “This decision is a victory for Dreamers – and for the entire country. Dreamers are already home, building families, creating communities and helping lift up everyone in America. Today’s decision validates the need for Congress to act and deliver the lasting decision Dreamers and the millions of American families they are members of deserve. And today we celebrate the commitment and fight of young advocates across the country who have fought so hard to make today possible.”

CHN’s Weinstein also welcomed the decision. “The vast majority of Americans believe, based on their knowledge of how DACA participants came to this country and their contributions to our nation, that decency, justice and humanity require us to recognize and affirm that DACA participants are valued members of our communities and deserve permanent legal status and a path to citizenship,” Weinstein said. “We celebrate the Supreme Court’s ruling, but know that the real celebration of justice and human decency awaits Congress’ enactment of legislation to provide legal status and a path to citizenship for 700,000 DACA recipients and other immigrants who every day make essential contributions to our communities.”

Not all news out of the Supreme Court recently has been good, however. On June 25, the court ruled 7-2 that asylum-seekers have no right to a federal court hearing before being removed from the U.S. In a blog piece, the American Immigration Council said the Supreme Court’s decision on this fast-track deportation process, known as expedited removal, “leaves already vulnerable asylum seekers, suffering from trauma and often without access to attorneys, at even greater risk of abuse in a fast-track deportation system riddled with error.”

The Trump Administration last week also filed a brief with the Supreme Court urging it to strike down the Affordable Care Act. Doing so would threaten the coverage of the 23 million Americans – nearly 3 million of them children – who gained coverage under the Affordable Care Act, and the stakes are even higher now given the current pandemic and the fact that millions of Americans have recently lost health insurance when they lost their jobs. According to The Hill, the case will likely not be decided before the November elections.

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