In June 2016, the Supreme Court, still with only eight justices after the passing of Justice Antonin Scalia, issued a per curiam opinion affirming the ruling in U.S. v. Texas, which contested President Obama’s ambitious immigration plans. A per curiam opinion is an opinion issued in the name of the court, rather than any individual justice, and it effectively halts any expansion of Deferred Action for Child Arrivals (DACA) for the foreseeable future. Naturally, many are wondering what their options are after this ruling.
The Basis for Challenge
President Obama’s proposed program, referred to as Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) or DACA+, would have conferred deferred action status on approximately five million undocumented immigrants if they met certain requirements, such as maintaining good moral character and having significant ties to the United States. Deferred action is defined as a choice to hold off on removing an individual, and it is essentially an accepted form of prosecutorial discretion.
A block of 26 states challenged President Obama’s authority to implement the program, alleging they had standing to sue because the program would cause significant injury in the form of additional expenditures. The underlying challenge, however, was based on the states’ belief that President Obama had overstepped his authority in granting deferred action. However, deferred action does not confer lawful status. It may be revoked by the relevant authorities, unlike citizenship or lawful permanent residence, which may not be revoked without evidence of aggravated felony or moral turpitude.
What Has Been Lost
While those who have already obtained Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) status will not see any major changes, they would have benefited from a favorable ruling. The current deferral period for someone under DACA is two years, and the expansion would have extended it to three. The New York Times reports that approximately 275,000 people would have been eligible for deferred action had the expansion of DACA been allowed to continue; at this point, very few of them have any alternative standing on which to remain in the United States.
DAPA would have granted temporary status to nearly five million people - approximately half of the United States’ undocumented population, most of whom are adult age and may have never lived anywhere else, depending on age. Many of the people in this group have been accruing unlawful presence for years, which renders them ineligible for many other forms of relief unless they obtain a waiver - and unless they are the direct relative of a U.S. citizen (parent, child or spouse), they are legally unable to do so.
Ask An Immigration Lawyer For Help
This ruling will likely not create immediate danger for anyone, but it will certainly make the future more dangerous for many undocumented immigrants. If you are concerned or have questions about your status, speaking to an attorney can be critical. The compassionate Chicago immigration attorneys at Mevorah Law Offices LLC are experienced in dealing with people who feel like they may have nowhere to turn. Call us today to set up a consultation.
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