Mar 29, 2020 - Health

Biden: Ending DACA amid coronavirus outbreak could cost lives

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.

Go deeper: Supreme Court weighs judicial role, human impact of ending DACA

Go deeper

Updates: George Floyd protests continue past curfews

Police officers wearing riot gear push back demonstrators outside of the White House on Monday. Photo: Jose Luis Magana/AFP via Getty Images

Protests over the death of George Floyd and other police-related killings of black people continued Tuesday across the U.S. for the eighth consecutive day — prompting a federal response from the National Guard, Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Customs and Border Protection.

The latest: Protesters were still out en masse even as curfews set in Washington, D.C., and New York City. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) slammed the New York Police Department late Tuesday following reports of police kettling in protesters on Manhattan Bridge.

Primary elections test impact of protests, coronavirus on voting

Election official at a polling place at McKinley Technology High School in Washington, D.C. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

In the midst of a global pandemic and national protests over the death of George Floyd, eight states and the District of Columbia held primary elections on Tuesday.

Why it matters: Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee, needs to win 425 of the 479 delegates up for grabs in order to officially clinch the nomination. There are a number of key down-ballot races throughout the country as well, including a primary in Iowa that could determine the fate of Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa).

Iowa Rep. Steve King defeated in GOP primary

Rep. Steve King. Photo: Alex Wroblewski/Getty Images

State Sen. Randy Feenstra defeated incumbent Rep. Steve King in Tuesday's Republican primary for Iowa's 4th congressional district, according to the Cook Political Report.

Why it matters: King's history of racist remarks has made him one of the most controversial politicians in the country and a pariah within the Republican Party.