In a decision that will disappoint millions of immigrant families, the Supreme Court has issued a tied decision in U.S. v. Texas. This decision means that Deferred Action for Parents (DAPA) and the expanded Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA 2.0) remain on hold.
The full text of the opinion reads merely, “The judgment is affirmed by an equally divided Court.” The decision was a 4-4 vote tie. A tied decision means that the decision by the lower appeals court remains in effect. The consequence of this decision is that DAPA and DACA 2.0 remain on hold across the country.
Back in November 2014 President Obama had created the DAPA program. It would have given protection to some undocumented immigrants with U.S. citizen children. The expanded DACA 2.0 program, created at the same time, offered protection to certain immigrants who entered the U.S. as young children. But a lawsuit was started with the purpose of halting these programs. A trial judge in Texas ordered that the programs be stopped, and that decision was the issue decided by the Supreme Court. Today’s decision means that the trial judge’s decision is upheld and the programs remain stopped.
We join immigrant advocates like Northwest Immigrant Rights Project in expressing our disappointment about today’s opinion.
— NWIRP (@NWIRP) June 23, 2016
What should you do if you wanted to apply for DAPA or DACA 2.0?
Today’s Supreme Court decision in U.S. v. Texas impacts up to 5 million immigrant families in the U.S. What should someone do if she was hoping to apply under these programs?
1. Do not pay anyone to prepare a DAPA/DACA 2.0 application for you.
As of today these programs remain on hold across the country. No one has the legal ability to apply for either DAPA or DACA 2.0. (The original DACA program remains available). In fact there is not even an application form available for these programs. For that reason you should be extremely suspicious of anyone who wants you to pay them to prepare an application. It is almost certainly a scam. Remember that it is illegal in the State of Washington for someone to offer services as a notario publico – please contact us if you have paid for such services. You may be entitled to compensation and we may be able to help.
2. Encourage your family to become citizens and vote.
The majority of Americans and businesses support immigration reform, but congress still has not taken action. Today’s decision ensures that there will be additional pressure on congress to finally take action. If you have family members who are already permanent residents, encourage them to become U.S. citizens and to vote. Our free guide can help them understand this process.
3. Do not assume that you have no other options.
Have you ever spoken to a lawyer about your immigration situation? If not, you should not assume that you have no options available. U.S. immigration law is extremely complex, and it is often not obvious whether someone has a legal strategy available to them. For example, if a family member or employer filed an immigration petition for you many years ago, you could be eligible for a green card even if you entered the U.S. illegally (under INA Section 245(i)). Or if you had a U.S. citizen parent or even grandparent you could be a U.S. citizen already, even if you were born outside the U.S. Don’t give up just because DAPA/DACA 2.0 are not available – at least make sure you are exploring all your possible options.
Photo credit: Stuart Miles