On June 23, 2016, the United States Supreme Court split 4-4 in its vote on President Obama’s Deferred Action for Parents of Americans program—also known as DAPA—when it decided the outcome of United States v. Texas.
President Obama first introduced DAPA in November 2014 as part of his plan for immigration reform and as a means to delay deportation for around 5 million undocumented aliens in the United States who had lived in the United States since 2010 and whose children were either American citizens or lawful permanent residents.
After its introduction, the policy was challenged by 26 states in federal court. After the policy was heard by several lower courts, the Supreme Court agreed to review United States v. Texas on January 19, 2016.
What Is the Impact of the Supreme Court’s Decision?
Although DAPA was blocked by the Supreme Court, existing immigration policies enacted prior to the decision still apply, including Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). Some important facts to know about existing immigration policies, such as DACA, and how they relate to the Supreme Court’s decision on DAPA include the following:
- ● People covered by DACA are still covered and may renew their status. DACA was established in June 2012 as a way to grant deferred actions to undocumented immigrants who meet certain guidelines and requirements. People who are sheltered from the threat of deportation due to DACA are still protected and can still apply to renew their status, despite the Supreme Court’s decision on DAPA.
- ● Persons who become eligible under 2012 criteria can still apply for DACA. President Obama attempted to expand the criteria and requirements for DACA applications in November 2014. However, a federal court order issued on February 16, 2016, blocked the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) from accepting requests related to the proposed guidelines of the November 2014 expansion. Initial grants and renewals under the original 2012 guidelines will still be accepted.
- ● DACA and DAPA will be priorities for Congress the next president. The future of DAPA, as well as future immigration policies and reform, is still undecided. After the Supreme Court issued its ruling, President Obama announced that he has ruled out new executive actions on immigration as he serves out the remainder of his term. However, both DACA and DAPA will be high-profile issues for the next president and for the United States Congress.