South Carolina lawmakers, business leaders speak out as Supreme Court weighs DACA decision

Nearly 7,000 South Carolinians fall under DACA protection

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WOLO) —On Tuesday morning, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments on a case that could lead to the end of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

While the justices listened to the arguments hundreds of miles away, South Carolina lawmakers and business leaders called for the Court to not discontinue the program, saying the economic impact would be severe.

Nearly 7,000 people in South Carolina fall under the DACA program, which provides temporary protection from deportation and the ability to legally work in the United States for people whose parents brought them to the country when they were children.

Some who receive DACA benefits say the Court’s decision leaves a lot of uncertainty and fear of what will happen if the program is discontinued.

“If I were to go somewhere else, it would be kind of hard. Going to a place where you don’t know what it is or how to interact with people from another location, so it would be devastating,” said Gustavo Orlando Gomez Coronado, a DACA recipient who has lived in the U.S. for 25 years, most of those years in the Midlands.

Coronado is one of thousands of South Carolinians who came over to the United States as a child.

The Trump Administration first tried to end the DACA program back in 2017.

On Tuesday morning, President Trump tweeted that some DACA recipients, also known as “dreamers”, are “far from angels” and that some are “tough hardened criminals.”

However, some say DACA recipients are valuable to the economy, and their contributions WOULD be severely missed if they are forced to leave.

“They came here without a choice and this is the only mother country they know, and they are trying their best. They are here to work hard, and give back to us and give back to this beautiful country,” said Vanessa Mota, a third-generation American who also owns Mota Enterprises LLC.

House Minority Leader Todd Rutherford (D-Richland County) said he plans to file legislation that would make it easier for DACA recipients to file for business licenses with the South Carolina Department of Labor, Licensing, and Regulation (LLR).

He says the effect of his legislation depends on how the Court rules, saying it’s time to stop treating DACA recipients like a political “football” and to treat them with the respect he says they deserve.

“What they add to South Carolina is literally, not just tens of millions of dollars, but the stability of the construction industry, the stability of a number of industries that need a labor force. We are in great economic times right now, we can not continue to be if we take 7,000 people out of the workforce,” Rep. Rutherford said.

More than 700,000 people are part of the DACA program nationwide.

The Supreme Court will likely hand down their decision by June 2020.

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