Mar 29, 2020 - Health

Biden: Ending DACA amid coronavirus outbreak could cost lives

Democratic presidential hopeful Joe Biden in the presidential debate in a CNN Washington Bureau studio in Washington, DC on March 15
Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

2020 candidate Joe Biden is supporting a letter from undocumented immigrants who work as health care providers, asking the Supreme Court to consider their efforts fighting COVID-19 when it rules on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

What he's saying: The former vice president said in a statement Saturday if the Supreme Court upholds President Trump's termination of the program amid the novel coronavirus outbreak, it would leave a "gaping hole in our health care system that is liable to cost American lives."

  • He said the U.S. needs "every trained and qualified person we have fighting this virus," including the roughly 27,000 people working in hospitals and health care facilities across the country thanks to DACA protections. 
  • Biden said Dreamers, those protected from deportation by the order established during the Obama administration, "are Americans in every way that matters."
  • "We should never endanger or throw into question their ability to contribute to our nation, but to do so in a moment of national crisis is beyond misguided," he added.

The big picture: Trump sought in 2017 to end the DACA program, which defers deportation for hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children. But two federal appeals courts have blocked the effort and the Supreme Court is expected to rule on the case in June.

  • Biden's 2020 presidential rival Sen. Bernie Sanders pledged last month to "reinstate and expand the DACA program for the 1.8 million young people eligible and their parents."

Of note: Biden also cited COVID-19 last Monday as a reason for the Trump administration and other conservatives to drop the lawsuit they're supporting challenging the Affordable Care Act, which is due to be heard by the Supreme Court later this year.

The other side: The Justice Department has argued that just as then-President Obama used executive action to create DACA, the Trump administration has the discretion to end it.

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