The Supreme Court announced Tuesday that it will decide whether President Obama has the authority to declare that millions of immigrants can remain in the U.S. illegally. The Court will probably hear arguments in the case in April and likely rule in June. As we have reported previously, the lawsuit stems from provisions in the President’s November 2014 executive order expanding the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and creating the Deferred Action for Parental Accountability (DAPA) program. These programs would protect from deportation millions of undocumented immigrants currently living in the U.S. A lawsuit brought by 25 states has kept the executive order from going into effect. A District Court in Texas and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit have both ruled against the Administration.
The DAPA and DACA programs allow certain immigrants who have been in the U.S. for at least 5 years, have not committed felonies and meet other criteria to remain and work in the U.S. without fear of deportation. Both sides have stated that they welcome the Supreme Court decision. The decision would provide the last chance for the administration to implement the programs before Obama leaves office.
There is wide support for the executive order. Although opponents focus on the fact that 25 states are opposed to the rules, there are 15 states, Washington, DC, and 73 Mayors and County Officials actively supporting DAPA/DACA and urging the Court to side with the Obama administration. The populations of the cities backing these initiatives have a larger population of undocumented immigrants than the states that are suing the federal government, which means those most likely to be impacted by DAPA/DACA are in favor of it. The support of these states and cities undercuts opponents’ arguments that the rules are harmful. Past rulings by the Supreme Court have supported the power of the President to provide temporary immigration relief and there is no reason for the Court to suddenly break from prior decisions.
We expect the Court to rule in favor of the President’s action, which would mean good news for the second half of 2016. We will continue to report on any updates. In the meantime, please contact us for more information about applying for DACA or DAPA.