Supreme Court Blocks Immigration Reform

On Wednesday, June 22, 2016, in a 4-4 decision the United States Supreme Court effectively blocked the deferred action immigration reform, commonly referred to as DACA and DAPA. According to reports the deferred action programs would have allowed an estimated 4 million undocumented individuals reside and work legally in the United States.

What is Deferred Action?

In late 2014 President Obama issued an executive order which would expand the current Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and create Deferred Action for Parental Accountability (DAPA). Individuals approved for DACA and DAPA would receive lawful status and work authorization in the United States for a limited time.

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals was created in August of 2012. Under the current law, certain undocumented persons are considered DACA eligible if he or she fulfills the following requirements:

  1. Under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012
  2. Entered the United States before reaching the age of 16
  3. Continuously resided in the United States since June 15, 2007
  4. Physically present in the U.S. on June 15, 2012 and at the time request for DACA was made
  5. Currently enrolled in school, graduated from high school, obtained a GED, or are an honorably discharged veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces or Coast Guard
  6. Have not been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor (as defined under immigration law), or three or more misdemeanors
  7. Does not pose a threat to national security or public safety.

Under the challenged and defeated executive order the age limitation requiring the DACA applicant be under the age of 31 would have been eliminated. Also, the work authorization would have been increased from 2 to 3 years.

Deferred Action for Parental Accountability

Deferred Action for Parental Accountability would have been a completely new program allowing undocumented parents of American citizens and lawful permanent residents obtain lawful presence and work authorization in the United States for 3 years.

To be eligible for DAPA an individual would have to fulfill the following requirements:

  1. Physically present in the U.S. on November 20, 2014
  2. Continuously resided in the U.S. since January 1, 2010
  3. Parent of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident (green card holder)
  4. Have not been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor (as defined under immigration law), or three or more misdemeanors
  5. Does not pose a threat to national security or public safety.

What Happens After the Supreme Court Decision?

The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the lower court, which struck down the deferred action reform. As a result, the DACA or Deferred Action from Childhood Arrivals will remain in effect in its original form. Applicants must be under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012. Also, the authorization to work and live in the United States would be effective for only 2 years.

DAPA or Deferred Action for Parental Accountability will not take effect. United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will not accept applications for DAPA or issue any immigration benefits under this program. However, all is not lost for undocumented parents looking to apply for the program.

According to President Obama, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will continue to remove persons according to current removal or deportation priorities. The DHS has established 3 classifications or priorities of persons according to their threat to national security, criminal history, ties to the U.S., and several other factors. Based on the enforcement priorities, individuals who would have been approved for DACA or DAPA will likely not be a priority for removal from the United States.

Also, current immigration benefits, including asylum, adjustment of status, naturalization, DACA, and more are still available. It is important to consult an experienced immigration attorney regarding eligibility for immigration benefits.

Conclusion

E.J. Hubbs of Hubbs Law Firm is an experienced immigration attorney based in Miami, Florida.  He represents individuals throughout Miami and Florida with all immigration issues, including removal or deportation proceedings, asylum, adjustment of status, naturalization, TPS, DACA, and renewals.

Contact Hubbs Law Firm at (305) 615-5945 to schedule a confidential consultation. With an attorney on call 24/7, Hubbs Law Firm is always by your side to address your legal needs.