There is hope for DAPA eligible immigrants


There is hope for millions of people eligible for DAPA

The Supreme Court's decision to hear Obama's Immigration Executive Action Case brings hope to millions of DAPA eligible immigrants. On January 19, 2016, the Supreme Court announced that it would rule on the fate of Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents ("DAPA") and expansion of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program ("DACA").

Four years ago, the Obama Administration implemented DACA. The DACA program allows young adults who were brought in the US under the age of 16 to work lawfully and help grow our economy without living under the constant threat of deportation. Since its implication, DACA has benefited 640,000 children and young adults, and generated a tremendous amount of tax revenue and millions of dollars in application fees.

In 2014, the government established a new program, DAPA, which was intended to benefit parents of United States citizens and Lawful Permanent Residents. The DAPA program would allow parents of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents to request deferred action (a hold on their deportation) if the parents have lived continuously in the United States since January 1, 2010 and meet all other requirements.

In December 2014, however, Texas and 25 other states filed a lawsuit in federal court blocking the program. These states have argued that although "the executive does have enforcement discretion to forbear from removing aliens on an individual basis," it cannot give millions immigrants a blanket grant of "lawful presence."

The federal government, on the other hand, has argued that "lawful presence" is only incident to the government's decision not to deport someone for a period of time. It has further argued that the immigrant workers without work authorization would work at below-market wages, ultimately hurting American workers and giving unscrupulous employers an unfair advantage.

In February 2015, the U.S. District Court ruled in favor of Texas and temporarily enjoined DAPA. A few months later, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit affirmed the lower court's decision. The Supreme Court has decided that it would take the step to decide on the biggest immigration fights in recent years.

As the presidential election is approaching, the Obama administration had asked the Court to decide quickly, and it appears that the case will be decided by the end of June 2016. If the Supreme Court upholds DAPA, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will begin accepting applications from qualified applicants.

If you believe you may be eligible for DAPA immigration benefits, please do not leave the US until the U.S. Supreme Court issues its decision. If you are not sure whether you meet the DAPA requirements, please consult an immigration lawyer.

Author: Aneliya M. Angelova, Esq. Immigration Lawyer.

Co-Author: Andrew H. Yang, Esq.