(JTA) — The Supreme Court ruled Thursday that President Donald Trump cannot immediately shut down the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, protecting 700,000 or so immigrants brought to the United States with their parents from likely deportation.
Liberal immigration reform advocates celebrated the decision, a setback for the Trump team that includes Jewish adviser Stephen Miller, who leads the administration’s policy on immigration. Trump announced his plans to end the DACA program in 2017.
At that time, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency spoke with a Jewish “Dreamer” — as the DACA program participants are often called — named Elias Rosenfeld, who moved with his family to the U.S. from Venezuela at age 6. He was attending Brandeis University, and the school’s president sent a letter to Trump urging him not to undo DACA.
“Here at Brandeis University, we value our DACA students, who enrich our campus in many ways and are integral to our community,” the letter said. “Reversing DACA inflicts harsh punishment on the innocent. As a nation founded by immigrants, we can, should, and must do better.”
“I don’t think it aligns with our values, with Jewish values and the Jewish community,” he said of a policy that would essentially strip a generation of people raised here of official recognition.
Rosenfeld cited the activism of a group called Torah Trumps Hate, which opposes policies that it considers anathema to values contained in Jewish teachings.
Growing up, his family attended synagogue often and celebrated Shabbat and Jewish holidays.
Despite the hardships he faced following his mother’s death, Rosenfeld excelled in high school. He completed 13 Advanced Placement courses and ranked among the top 10 percent of his graduating class, according to a Miami-Dade County school bulletin. Rosenfeld was widely recognized as a student leader, receiving several awards and honors. During the presidential campaign, he volunteered for the Hillary Clinton campaign.
Many students who were undocumented live in constant fear, even after receiving temporary legal status under DACA, Rosenfeld said.
“There is fear behind the shadows,” he said. “We are always behind the shadows.”