The United States Supreme Court Hears DAPA and DACA
In April, 2016, The U.S. Supreme Court began hearings in United States v. Texas, regarding the Constitutionality of President Obama’s executive action to implement the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) and expand the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). Texas along with 25 other states brought suit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas and in February 2015, that court concluded that the expansion of DACA and implementation of DAPA were unconstitutional. The U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit upheld the District Court’s finding and the Obama administration appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court. Neither DAPA or DACA confer upon the recipient legal status. They both allow undocumented aliens reprieve from deportation and in the case of DAPA allow the recipient renewable working permits. It also does not grant the person the right to remain in the U.S. permanently.
In order to eligible for DAPA, one would need to prove:
Have lived in the U.S. without interruption since January 1, 2010;
Have been physically present in the U.S. on November 20, 2014 ( the date the program was announced);
Be physically present in the U.S. when applying to the program;
Had no lawful status on November 20, 2014;
Had, on November 20, 2014, a son or daughter, of any age or marital status, who is a U.S. citizen or lawful
Have not been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor, or three or more other misdemeanors; do not
otherwise pose a threat to national security; and are not an enforcement priority for removal.
Texas and other 25 states argue that President Obama exceeded his executive powers by enacting DAPA and expanding DACA. Their argument is that President Obama’s actions violate the Take Care Clause of the Constitution. Article 2, section 3 of the U.S. Constitution states as the President, “he shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed, and shall Commission all the Officers of the United States. By ordering these executive actions, the States are arguing that President Obama is essentially changing the law instead of taking care of it.
President Obama’s argument is that first and foremost, immigration issues are left to the federal government and not the states. It has been well established law, since the 1990’s that deferred action recipients have been able to apply and received employment authorization. (8C.F.R. sec. 274a.12(c)(14). Congress also enacted the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA), which allowed deferred action recipients employment authorization.
The Supreme Court should render its decision some time in June 2016. With an eight panel of justices since the passing of Antonin Scalia, this should be an interesting outcome. The plight of millions of individuals, families and even companies hangs in the balance. A favorable outcome for the Obama Administration means that millions of individuals can finally come out of the shadows. Without the fears of being deported, they can now obtain a drivers license, work permits, go to school and many other things they were not able to do before. Companies will be able to hire more workers. This in turn will help the very states that are fighting DAPA with increased revenues from taxes.