In November 2014, President Obama announced several executive actions on immigration, among them Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) and expanded Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). These two initiatives would allow millions of immigrants to come forward and apply for protection from deportation and a work permit. Most importantly, they would keep millions of families united.
Soon after the president announced these initiatives, Texas and 25 other states filed a lawsuit challenging them. In February 2015, a federal district court in Texas issued a nationwide order that put DAPA and expanded DACA on hold. The Obama administration quickly appealed this decision to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. On November 9, 2015, a divided panel of the Fifth Circuit issued a decision that affirms the Texas federal district court's order that temporarily blocks DAPA and expanded DACA from being implemented. On Friday, November 20, 2015 the Department of Justice filed its petition for a writ of certiorari to the Supreme Court, which subsequently granted certiorari on January 19th, 2016.
The case was heard on April 18, 2016 and a decision is anticipated in late June.
The Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) is a prosecutorial discretion program administered by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) on an individual applicant basis that provides temporary relief from deportation (called deferred action). Once an individual's application is approved for deferred action, they have the opportunity to apply for work authorization as unauthorized parents of U.S. citizens or Lawful Permanent Residents (LPRs). The DAPA program resembles the DACA program in some important respects, but the eligibility criteria are distinct.
The program will be open to individuals who:
✱ Have a U.S. citizen or LPR son or daughter as of November 20, 2014; - Have continuously resided in the United States since before January 1, 2010;
✱ Are physically present in the United States on November 20, 2014, and at the time of applying;
✱ Have no lawful immigration status on November 20, 2014;
✱ Are not an enforcement priority, which is defined to include individuals with a wide range of criminal convictions (including certain misdemeanors), those suspected of gang involvement and terrorism, recent unlawful entrants, and certain other immigration law violators
✱ Present no other factors that would render a grant of deferred action inappropriate; and
✱ Pass a background check.
DAPA grants will last for three years.
Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) is a prosecutorial discretion program administered by USCIS on an individual applicant basis that provides temporary relief from deportation (deferred action) and work authorization to certain young people brought to the United States as children—often called “DREAMers.”
While the 2012 DACA program does not offer a pathway to legalization, it has helped over half a million eligible young adults move into mainstream life, thereby improving their social and economic well-being.
Previously, applicants needed to be under the age of 31 on June 15, 2012, and to have resided here continuously since June 15, 2007. However, on November 20, 2014, the administration modified the DACA program by eliminating the age ceiling and making individuals who began residing here before January 1, 2010 eligible. Moreover, the administration announced that DACA grants and accompanying employment authorization will, as of November 24, 2014, last three years instead of two.
Estimates are that approximately 3.7 million unauthorized immigrants could qualify for DAPA, 3.5 million of whom are parents of U.S. Citizens and an estimated 180,000 who are the parents of Lawful Permanent Residents. There are an estimated 4.1 million U.S. Citizen children under the age of 18 who have a DAPA-eligible parent.
In total, the expansion of DACA and the creation of DAPA—together with the original DACA program that was announced in June 2012—would allow approximately 5 million unauthorized parents and DREAMers to gain temporary protection from deportation and the opportunity to apply for a work permit.
Economic data demonstrates that DAPA and DACA+ are great for America's economy. Researchers have found that DAPA & DACA+ would:
✱ Reduce the Federal deficit by $25 billion by 2024
✱ Increase the GDP by $230 billion over 10 years
✱ Result in an additional $805 million paid in state and local taxes
Whereas, data shows that each day DAPA and DACA+ are not unfrozen the U.S. GDP loses $29.9 million. Additionally, conservative economists have found that deporting the U.S. undocumented population would cost $600 billion and cause the U.S. GDP to decrease by $1.7 trillion.
No. The DAPA and DACA+ programs utilize the prosecutorial discretion of the Department of Homeland Security, or DHS, who would make case-by-case decisions on individual applications regarding whether to grant deferred action to certain parents of U.S. citizen children and lawful permanent residents, or LPRs. To be eligible, applicants also must not fall within any of DHS’ enforcement priorities, which include threats to national security, border security, and public safety.
Since at least 1956, every U.S. president has used executive authority to grant temporary immigration relief to one or more groups in need of assistance. Some presidents announced programs while legislation was pending. Other presidents responded to humanitarian crises. Still others made compelling choices to assist individuals in need when the law failed to address their needs or changes in circumstance.