DACA/DAPA Updates

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DACA, also known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, has been a federal law since 2012. It allows certain undocumented immigrants who entered before their 16th birthday and before 2007 to have a 2 year work permit and exemption from deportation. In November 2014, President Obama announced changes to DACA so it would include immigrants who entered before 2010, eliminate the requirement that applicants need to be younger than 31, and can apply for three year work permits. If the suggested change that President Obama suggested were to pass, it would increase the number of eligible people by about 330,000.

 

DAPA, also known as Deferred Action for Parents of Americans, was announced in November 2014 by President Obama. It would grant deferred action status to certain illegal immigrants who have lived in the US since 2010 and have children who are American citizens or lawful permanent residents. While deferred action is not full legal status, it comes with a work permit and protection against deportation.

 

On May 26, in a 2-1 decision, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals refused the Obama administration’s request for an emergency stay of Judge Andrew Hanen’s injunction against DAPA and DACA. The oral arguments were heard on July 10th to decide if the injunction is legally justified. The injunction is still in place; these oral arguments were to decide if there are grounds for a full trial.

 

Texas and the states suing with Texas argued that the federal government cannot give illegal immigrants lawful status and that any changes in immigration policy need to come from Congress, not from the President. Texas and the states argue that these laws put too much burden on the states, that DACA/DAPA is forcing taxpayers to pay for the services of illegal immigrants.

 

On the other hand, supporters of DACA/DAPA said that states should not interfere with federal immigration policy. The Obama administration would like to keep DACA/DAPA on the books because it will allow more people to live and work with legal status in the United States.

 

The decision is not expected for a few months from now. After the decision is announced, either side can appeal to the Supreme Court and then a decision will not be issued until the end of Obama’s presidency.

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