Supreme Court Ruling - Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA)

In a split decision of 4-4, the Supreme Court of the United States affirmed the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals decision that blocked the implementation of the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) and the expansion of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program for undocumented youth. The Supreme Court decision, United States v. Texas, effectively ends the DAPA program and DACA expansion.  (Click here for the Supreme Court decision.)

DAPA was first announced on November 20, 2014 by President Obama through an Executive Order (Click here for DAPA announcement.)   The policy would have granted temporary work authorization and exemption from deportation to undocumented parents of U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents. Like the current DACA program, DAPA would not have granted lawful immigration status. Moreover, DAPA, if enacted, would have also been a discretionary program; that is, granting deferred action, a mechanism where the U.S. government defers removal of an undocumented immigrant for a certain period of time, would have been determined on a case-by-case basis.

The expanded DACA program under the November 20, 2014 Executive Order would have removed the age cap, extended work authorization for DACA applicants, and adjusted the date-of-entry requirements to January 1, 2010. Together, DAPA and the DACA expansion would have granted millions more undocumented immigrants relief from deportation.

The decision in United States v. Texas does not affect the original 2012 DACA initiative. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) still accepts DACA applications from those who are eligible to apply.  (Click here for DACA application information.)  A person is eligible for DACA if he or she:

  1. Was under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012;
  2. Came to the United States before reaching his or her 16th birthday;
  3. Has continuously resided in the United States since June 15, 2007, up to the present time;
  4. Was physically present in the United States on June 15, 2012, and at the time of making the request for consideration of deferred action with USCIS;
  5. Had no lawful status on June 15, 2012;
  6. Is currently in school, have graduated or obtained a certificate of completion from high school, have obtained a general education development (GED) certificate, or are an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States; and
  7. Has not been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor, or three or more other misdemeanors, and do not otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety.

The 2012 DACA program is still enforceable because it was not challenged, and the decision in United States v. Texas does not determine whether the President’s Administration has the authority to enact federal immigration policies such as DACA or DAPA through Executive Action. For now, the Department of Homeland Security and USCIS are prohibited from implementing DAPA or the DACA expansion.  (Click here for Secretary Johnson's statement.)

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