Supreme Court to decide the fate of DAPA and expanded DACA

Tuesday, January 19, 2016 - 6:15pm

The Supreme Court announced today that it will decide whether President Obama has the power to declare that millions of undocumented immigrants with US citizen and lawful permanent resident (LPR) children will be permitted to remain and work in the United States without threat of deportation.

When will the Supreme Court decide on DAPA and Extended DACA?

It is likely that the Court will hear arguments in the case in April of this year and issue its decision before it adjourns in June. The Supreme Court has provided President Obama with the last chance to implement the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) and the expanded Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program before he leaves office in January 2017.

Who would be eligible for deferred deportation and work authorization under DAPA?

Under the proposed DAPA program, certain undocumented immigrants would be allowed to remain in the United States and apply for work permits if they have been here for at least five years, have not committed certain crimes, and are the parents of US citizens or lawful permanent residents. President Obama announced this program in November 2014 as a way for the government to prioritize its limited enforcement resources and decide which categories of individuals should first be deported.

What would change under the expanded DACA program?

The proposed expansion of the DACA program removes the age cap for applicants and adjusts the date by which the applicant needed to be present in the United States. This would allow more undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children, to qualify for this program.

Why have DAPA and expanded DACA been blocked?

President Obama announced the executive action after Congress had failed to enact comprehensive immigration reform in 2014. However, the action was blocked by Texas federal courts after 26 Republican-led states sued to prevent its implementation. Republicans and Democrats alike welcome the announcement that the Supreme Court will hear the case, both saying that their side will prevail. The Administration argues that the states have no standing to sue because it is up to the federal government to establish immigration policy and that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) did not violate any laws in creating the DAPA program. The states argue that the Administration has no authority to create such a program which should be the subject of legislation passed by Congress.

If the Supreme Court upholds the President’s authority prior to the end of the Court’s term in June, millions of individuals may be eligible to apply for the benefits of these programs starting this summer.