Newark, NJ- The U.S. Supreme Court announced Wednesday, January 20th, it would hear the legal challenge to one of the Obama Administration’s immigration policies, Deferred Action for Parental Accountability. If the high court decides in the Obama Administration’s favor, millions of undocumented immigrants across the U.S. could apply for relief from deportation, but the decision won’t come until later this year.
In the fall of 2014, President Obama introduced a set of immigration actions, called Deferred Action for Parental Accountability (DAPA), which would give deportation relief to undocumented parents of U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents. DAPA is very similar to Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals– also one of President Obama’s signature immigration actions—in that it defers deportation for individuals who apply for the program and also allows applicants to obtain a work permit as long as they pass extensive background checks and meet all the requirements. Unlike DACA, which went into effect in 2012, DAPA was never implemented because it faced an immediate legal challenge from the State of Texas.
After an injunction, which put DAPA on hold, 24 states joined Texas’s lawsuit to put DAPA on hold. In that suit, Texas allege that the Obama administration failed to meet a procedural rule required by the Immigration Nationality Act and did not offer a public comment period. The lawsuit also alleges that if DAPA were implemented each state would have to shoulder the financial burden of providing applicants with driver’s licenses.
But the U.S. Supreme Court won’t just be deciding if the Obama Administration followed procedural rules. The court will decide if President Obama’s immigration actions are within the scope of his executive powers, or if he is overreaching as the states’ lawsuit alleges. The Obama Administration has maintained that delaying deportation for immigrants is not an overreach of his executive powers, and is necessary to free up limited resources so that immigration officials can focus on high-priority deportations which were recently outlined by the Department of Homeland Security. The federal lawsuit also alleges that the states have no right to sue since the federal government has authority over immigration policies.
If the U.S. Supreme Court does decide in the Obama Administration’s favor and DAPA is allowed to be fully implemented, many immigrants in New Jersey could apply for the program and work towards obtaining legal status. But it is important to note that a newly elected President can overturn the program, so there may be limited time for immigrants to apply for DAPA. That means any immigrants hoping to apply for deportation relief may have to act quickly to submit their applications.
The Obama Administration is confident that Supreme Court Justices will decide in the President’s favor with Press Secretary telling reporters at a press conference the President’s actions were “clearly within the confines of his authority as president of the United States.” Still, the fate of DAPA won’t be decided until June of 2016.
Anyone, who thinks they or a loved one is eligible for DACA or other deportation relief, should obtain legal assistance with their applications. Keeping up with key cases like the DAPA challenge allows me to give each of my clients the best representation possible. If you want to apply for one of these programs or need help with any other immigration issue, call my Newark office and we can arrange a time to discuss your case and see how I can help.