Deferred Action for Parents of Americans

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Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA), sometimes called 'Deferred Action for Parental Accountability', is a planned American immigration policy which would grant deferred action status to certain illegal immigrants who have lived in the United States since 2010 and have children who are American citizens or lawful permanent residents. Deferred action is not full legal status, but in this case would come with a three-year, renewable work permit and exemption from deportation.

The program was announced in November 2014 by President Barack Obama, along with a number of immigration reform steps including increased resources for border enforcement, new procedures for high-skilled immigrants, and an expansion of the existing Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.[1][2]

Several states have filed lawsuits against the Federal government, arguing that DAPA violates the Constitution and federal statutes. A temporary injunction was issued in February 2015 blocking the program from going into effect while the lawsuit proceeds.

Texas v. United States

In December 2014, Texas and 25 other states, all with Republican governors, sued in the District Court for the Southern District of Texas asking the court to enjoin implementation of both DAPA and the DACA expansion.[3][4][5] On February 16, 2015, Judge Andrew S. Hanen issued a preliminary injunction blocking the program from going into effect while Texas v. United States proceeds.[6][7]

The Obama Administration appealed the order for a preliminary injunction and asked the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in New Orleans to stay the district court's injunction pending appeal.[8] On May 26, 2015, the administration's motion for a stay was denied by a three member motions panel with one dissent, meaning that the government could not implement DAPA until the Fifth Circuit ruled on the appeal of the injunction order itself.[9][10] That ruling came on November 9, 2015, with a three-member panel of the Fifth Circuit affirming the district court's preliminary injunction, with one dissent.[11]

The divided circuit court affirmed the preliminary injunction and ordered the case back to the district court for trial.[12] Judge Jerry Edwin Smith, joined by Judge Jennifer Walker Elrod agreed with the district court that Texas has standing because of the cost of issuing drivers licenses to aliens, and that President Obama’s order violated the rulemaking requirements of the Administrative Procedure Act.[12] The majority made a new finding that the Immigration and Nationality Act “flatly does not permit” deferred action.[13] Judge Carolyn Dineen King dissented, arguing that prosecutorial discretion makes the case non-justiciable, and that there had been “no justification” for the circuit court’s delay in ruling.[13]

On November 10, 2015, the Justice Department announced it would ask the Supreme Court to reverse.[14] Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton attempted to prolong consideration of the case until the next October term but the Supreme Court only granted him an eight day extension to file his opposition brief.[15] The Justice Department further hastened the case by waiving its right to file a reply brief.[16] On January 19, 2016 the Supreme Court agreed to review the case.[17] The Court took the unusual step of asking for briefing on the new constitutional question of whether DAPA violates the Take Care Clause.[18]

Analysis and studies

In February 2015, the Migration Policy Institute estimated that about 3.7 million unauthorized immigrants in the United States are potentially eligible for DAPA, around 766 000 in just five counties: Los Angeles and Orange in California, Harris and Dallas in Texas, and Cook in Illinois.[19]


To be eligible for DAPA, a person must:[20]

  • Have lived in the United States without interruption since January 1, 2010
  • Have been physically present in the United States on November 20, 2014 (the date the program was announced)
  • Be physically present in the United States when applying to the program
  • Have lacked lawful immigration status on November 20, 2014
  • Have had, as of November 20, 2014, a child who is a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident
  • Not have been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor or three or more other misdemeanors, and not "otherwise pose a threat to national security or be an enforcement priority for removal."

See also


  1. "Obama immigration plan, the details: border security, deferred action, new programs". San Jose Mercury. 2014-11-20. Retrieved 2015-02-20. 
  2. "Obama, Daring Congress, Acts to Overhaul Immigration". The New York Times. 2014-11-20. Retrieved 2015-02-17. 
  3. Zargham, Mohammad (November 9, 2015). "Obama's immigration action blocked again; Supreme Court only option left". Reuters. Retrieved November 9, 2015. 
  4. David Montgomery and Julia Preston (3 December 2014). "17 states suing on immigration". The New York Times. Retrieved 27 February 2015. 
  5. "Texas et. al. v. United States et. al.: Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief" (PDF). Office of the Attorney General of Texas. 3 December 2014. Retrieved 27 February 2015. 
  6. "After Judge's Ruling Obama Delays Immigration Actions", The New York Times, February 18, 2015 .
  7. Kalhan, Anil (2015). "Deferred Action, Supervised Enforcement Discretion, and the Rule of Law Basis for Executive Action on Immigration". UCLA Law Review Discourse. 63: 58. 
  8. "House Democrats Encourage Representatives To Keep Holding Events On Obama Immigration Actions", The Huffington Post, February 19, 2015 .
  9. Nakamura, David. Obama administration won’t seek emergency stay from Supreme Court on immigration injunction, Washington Post, May 27, 2015.
  10. Kalhan, Anil (June 3, 2015). "Executive Action on Immigration and the Judicial Artifice of "Lawful Presence"". Dorf on Law. 
  11. Shear, Michael D. (November 9, 2015). "Appeals Court Deals Blow to Obama’s Immigration Plans". New York Times. Retrieved November 9, 2015. 
  12. 12.0 12.1 Lind, Dara (10 November 2015). "Obama's immigration executive actions are up to the Supreme Court". Vox. Retrieved 12 November 2015. 
  13. 13.0 13.1 Ford, Matt (10 November 2015). "A Ruling Against the Obama Administration on Immigration". The Atlantic. Retrieved 12 November 2015. 
  14. Shear, Michael D. (November 10, 2015). "Obama appeals immigration ruling to Supreme Court". New York Times. Retrieved November 10, 2015. 
  15. Lyle Denniston, States get a bit more time for immigration reply, SCOTUSblog (Dec. 1, 2015, 5:22 PM).
  16. Lyle Denniston, States want wider immigration review, if Court takes case (FURTHER UPDATE), SCOTUSblog (Dec. 29, 2015, 6:37 PM).
  17. Liptak, Adam. "Justices to Hear State Challenge on Immigration". The New York Times (20 January 2016, section A1). Retrieved 20 January 2016. 
  18. Palazzolo, Joe (19 January 2016). "In Immigration Case, Supreme Court Takes an Interest in 'Take Care' Clause". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 20 January 2016. 
  19. "MPI Releases Detailed Data Profiles of Unauthorized Immigrants and Estimates of Deferred Action Populations for Top U.S. Counties". Migration Policy Institute. Retrieved February 20, 2015. 
  20. "Executive Actions on Immigration". U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. 

External links