Deferred Action for Parents of Americans
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.
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. 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.
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. 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. 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.
The divided circuit court affirmed the preliminary injunction and ordered the case back to the district court for trial. 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. The majority made a new finding that the Immigration and Nationality Act “flatly does not permit” deferred action. 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.
On November 10, 2015, the Justice Department announced it would ask the Supreme Court to reverse. 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. The Justice Department further hastened the case by waiving its right to file a reply brief. On January 19, 2016 the Supreme Court agreed to review the case. The Court took the unusual step of asking for briefing on the new constitutional question of whether DAPA violates the Take Care Clause.
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.
To be eligible for DAPA, a person must:
- 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."
- Immigration to the United States
- Illegal immigration to the United States
- History of laws concerning immigration and naturalization in the United States
- Immigration reform
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