This past Thursday, in a split decision from a not fully staffed Supreme Court, the Justices hindered fair immigration reform efforts by not affirming President Obama’s 2014 Executive Order: The Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA).
The order sought to stave off deportation for over 4,000,000 undocumented parents currently in the United States whose children were born in the country and are thereby citizens. In a one sentence deposition, delivered without commentary or dissenting opinion, the justices left many wondering about their future. While Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton has affirmed that she will continue support for DAPA, if elected, the Republican nominee Donald Trump has indicated he would rescind this—or any similar—Executive Order.
There are current protections in place for those parents who have resided in the United States for 10 years or more and who have not experienced any level of contact with our criminal justice systems; however, the Supreme Court’s dead-lock will impede any extension to the millions of other parents who do not meet extant criteria for a path to legal residency and work status.
Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)
The Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) is related to Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) which protects the so-called “Dreamers”, children who arrived in an undocumented status to the United States, who grew up here and in whose eyes this is their country. Most Dreamers have grown up speaking English, have formed deep roots in the US and who have no real ties with their countries of origin. They are, in every meaningful sense, Americans.
By forcing millions to live in the shadows with no legal path to citizenship or residency, we harm our economy, public safety and the cause of civil rights.