EXPANDED DACA & DAPA UPDATE: Supreme Court may decide constitutionality by June 2016.

The U.S. Supreme Court will determine the constitutionality of President Obama’s executive actions which expanded Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and created Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (DAPA). A final decision could be made in June 2016.

Millions of undocumented individuals have been waiting anxiously for USCIS to start the expanded DACA and the DAPA program which would expand eligibility for "deferred action."

Deferred action is a kind of administrative relief from deportation which authorizes a non–U.S. citizen to remain in the U.S. temporarily. The person may also apply for an employment authorization document (a work permit) for the period during which he or she has deferred action. Deferred action is granted on a case-by-case basis. Even if you meet the requirements, The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will still have to decide whether to grant you deferred action. A grant of deferred action is temporary. However, a person granted deferred action is considered by the federal government to be lawfully present in the U.S. for as long as the grant expanded eligibility for deferred action status.

HISTORY OF EXPANDED DACA & DAPA

On November 20, 2014, President Obama announced executive actions that would expand the existing DACA program and create a new program to allow parents of U.S. citizens and permanent residents to remain in the U.S. and work without fear of deportation. The executive actions were challenged in the courts by several states.

On February 16, 2015, a federal judge in Texas blocked these two programs (expanded DACA and DAPA). The injunction meant that the two programs could not be implemented.

On November 9, 2015, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans reaffirmed the decision and, as a result, President Obama’s expanded DACA and DAPA programs could not be implemented. The Obama Administration asked the Supreme Court to take the case.

On January 19, 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to "grant cert" in the case of United States v. Texas. This means that they will hear the case, and a final decision could be made in June 2016.

WHAT NOW?

The current court injunction does not affect the existing DACA program. If you have been granted DACA, it is still in effect. If you need to renew DACA, you may still do so.

Unfortunately, until a court overturns the existing decision blocking expanded DACA and DAPA will not start.

The U.S. Supreme Court will make a decision on this matter, possibly by late June 2016. If the Supreme Court rules against the Obama Administration, it will be up to Congress to implement new laws that address the needs of an estimated eleven (11) million undocumented immigrants in the United States. If the Supreme Court rules in favor of the Obama Administration, DAPA and expanded DACA will finally be implemented.

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