In 2014, President Obama unveiled an immigration program that would have a significant effect on more than four million adults currently living as undocumented immigrants in the United States. The Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) program was intended to provide lawful options for the parents of children who are either lawful residents or citizens of the U.S. These parents could apply to defer any adverse immigration actions until their children reached a certain age or education level and would be eligible to apply for permits to work and for benefits including retirement, health insurance, and disability.
In 2012, the Obama administration announced the start of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which applies to certain undocumented children who were brought to the U.S. before they turned 16 years old. DACA would allow these individuals to defer deportation or other action for two years and receive a renewable work permit. This would grant them legal status in the U.S., though does not create a path to U.S. citizenship. DACA has thus far helped more than 700,000 people who were brought involuntarily as children to live unlawfully in the U.S. In 2014, President Obama also announced an expansion of DACA to eliminate age caps, create eligibility for individuals who came into the U.S. as recently as 2010, and to extend the work permit and deferral period to three years.
DAPA is closely related to DACA as the parents of individuals who received legal status through DACA may apply for deferred action themselves under the new program. DAPA would also apply to parents of children who were born in the U.S. and who therefore received citizenship.
Challenges To DAPA and DACA Expansion
The Texas Attorney General decided to attempt to block DAPA and DACA expansion by filing a claim against the U.S. Two days before the program was to go into effect, federal courts in Texas issued a temporary injunction halting the implementation of the program. Now, the challenge has made it to the Supreme Court, which heard arguments for and against the new measures and whose decision is yet to be determined.
With a short-handed Supreme Court, the possibility of a tie 4-4 decision exists, which would uphold the challenge to DAPA and DACA expansions. However, courts in many states that support the programs may attempt to fight the injunction and could result in a complicated legal situation. However, previous decisions from certain Supreme Court justices have immigration advocacy groups and DAPA supporters hopeful that the Court will overturn the injunction and the immigration programs will go into effect.
A Florida Immigration Lawyer Can Help
The complex legal issues surrounding DAPA and DACA currently are only one example of the complicated nature of immigration laws in the U.S. If you need any type of immigration assistance or guidance, you should consult with an experienced Florida immigration attorney as soon as possible. Call the Law Offices of Alex T. Barak at (954) 399-7778 for help today.