SCOTUS Decision on Obama's Executive Order on Immigration

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On June 23, 2016 the United States Supreme Court issued its decision on President Obama’s November, 2014 Executive Order on Immigration. The nation’s highest court affirmed the Texas federal appeals court in a split decision. Because the decision was 4-4, the Texas Circuit Court’s ruling stands, and the injunction against President Obama’s November 20, 2014 Executive Order remains in effect.

The decision permanently blocks President Obama’s executive order on DAPA, or Deferred Action for Parental Accountability, as well as the expansion of the existing DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals). This means that the deferred removal provision of the November, 2014 executive order for parents of U.S. Citizens or Lawful Permanent Residents has been permanently blocked by the Supreme Court, which upheld the Texas court’s injunction. It also means that the expanded eligibility for DACA has been found to be invalid as well, meaning that only the 2012 provisions of DACA will remain in place for the time being.

The DAPA provision would have allowed parents of U.S. citizens or Lawful Permanent Residents to avoid deportation through deferred action, and to obtain work permits to work legally in the United States. The expanded DACA, already implemented in 2012, would have broadened eligibility for deferred deportation and work permit benefits for certain individuals who entered the U.S. as children.

The 2012 DACA provisions are unaffected by the Supreme Court’s decision, meaning that individuals who entered the United States before the age of 16, was under the age of 31 on June 15, 2012, was physically present in the United States on June 15, 2012, and resided continuously in the United States from June 15, 2007 to the time of applying for DACA benefits. In addition, DACA applicants must demonstrate that they are currently in school or have graduated or obtained a certificate of completion from high school or a GED. Applicants who have been convicted of a felony, a “significant misdemeanor,” or three or more misdemeanors, or who pose a threat to national security or public safety, are also ineligible.

The Supreme Court’s ruling on the DAPA program will have a significant impact on parents of U.S. citizen or permanent resident individuals, no matter what age. This ruling eliminates the possibility for parents of U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents from emerging from the shadows and obtaining a work permit or driver’s license. It also keeps the threat of deportation looming over such individuals.

The possibility of comprehensive immigration reform through legislation is the best hope for benefits for individuals who would have benefitted from DAPA. In addition, if such individuals are placed in removal proceedings, there is the possibility of relief from deportation if they have been the victim of a crime and have cooperated with law enforcement in prosecuting the perpetrator; or if they have been present in the United States for at least ten years and their removal would visit extreme and unusual hardship on a U.S. citizen qualifying relative; or if they are the victim of domestic violence at the hand of a U.S. citizen.

At Gaston and Mentor, we are saddened by the Supreme Court’s decision upholding the Texas Circuit Court’s injunction. Those individuals who have been awaiting a more favorable decision should see an experienced immigration attorney to investigate other options.

See An Experienced Immigration Attorney

If you believe you may qualify for other immigration benefits and need counsel on your risk, seek a consultation with an experienced immigration attorney.