In our previous post we talked about how the Supreme Court has agreed to make a ruling on United States v Texas, the lawsuit brought against the series of executive actions Obama introduced to further alleviate illegal immigration. The weight of the Supreme Court’s decision hinges on whether the Justices agree that the President exercised lawful discretion through use of the executive action in proposing these initiatives. This ruling could affect more than 5 million immigrants currently in the U.S. and what the next three years of their lives will look like.
Included in the initiatives are the expansion of the DACA program, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, and the implementation of the newly developed program DAPA, Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents. For context, DACA is a program designed and implemented by the Obama Administration to grant temporary lawful status and work authorization (currently for 2 years) for individuals who were under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012; came to the United States before reaching their 16th birthday; and/or have continuously resided in the United States since June 15, 2007. DAPA, the second of Obama’s initiatives, is designed to grant deferred action on deportation proceedings and employment authorization to parents of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents for three years. (USCIS) Neither of these programs were designed as a path to citizenship but as a means for illegal immigrants to have temporary legal status.
If the Supreme Court decides that Obama exercised a lawful use of executive action, then the proposed initiatives could go into effect as early as this year, the last year of Obama’s presidency. Millions of illegal immigrants that fall within the requirements of each program could apply for lawful status and work authorization immediately. As this is not a path to citizenship qualifying applicants would receive three years of lawful status and work authorization, meaning that they would also be paying U.S. taxes during this time. Unfortunately, the decision by the Supreme Court is only on the legalities of the President’s actions, making the immigration programs temporary and susceptible to repeal by the next president.
If the Supreme Court rules against Obama or throws out the case, then the DACA program would continue to exist granting status to those who entered before their 16th birthday and lasting for only two years. Illegal immigrants, much like they are now, would be subject to deportation based upon lawful status and entry and the DAPA program will remain an idea for immigration reform in the United States.
Tags: Immigration Action, Executive Action, US v Texas, DACA, DAPA