ENGLISH DAPA, DACA in limbo after Supreme Court indecision
WASHINGTON, DC — Having reached an impasse, the U.S. Supreme Court voted 4-4 in one of the most consequential immigration cases in recent history, United States v. Texas. The High Court’s failure to fall one way or another in the case leaves in place a lower court decision that blocks the Obama administration’s deferred action immigration initiatives known as DAPA and the expansion of DACA from being implemented.
Marielena Hincapie, executive director of National Immigration Law Center, issued the following statement:
“The stakes could not have been higher: Millions have watched, and waited, for the Supreme Court to affirm the president’s authority to inject some common sense into our immigration system. Today, the eight justices failed to act, and countless families will suffer as a consequence.”
“With this case, the Court had an opportunity to provide clarity and guidance on executive power and to free up programs that would have tremendous social and economic benefits,” Hincapie continued. “Instead, they followed a troubling trend this term of failing to do the job the American people and the Constitution entrusted to them, due in part to the politicized vacancy on the Court.”
The Obama administration announced DAPA and the expansion of DACA in November 2014. The two initiatives would allow certain immigrant parents of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents, as well as other immigrants who came to the U.S. as children, to apply for temporary work authorization and protection from deportation.
Texas and 25 other states – including Oklahoma and Arkansas – sued the federal government to block the administration’s initiatives in December 2014. In February 2015, a federal district court judge in Texas ruled in Texas’s favor and blocked both DAPA and the expansion of DACA. In a decision issued in November 2015, a divided panel of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the district court’s order.
Last week’s decision by a deadlocked High Court means the Fifth Circuit’s nationwide injunction of the programs remains in place by default and that the case will be sent back to the lower courts for consideration—a prospect that worries many immigrants, given a recent extreme order by the federal district court in this case.
“The stakes are now even greater for the November elections as the next president will have the opportunity to appoint several Supreme Court justices in their first term, shaping our country’s future for decades to come,” Hincapie noted. “Immigrant communities are committed to continuing our fight for our families.”