SCOTUS Punts on DACA/DAPA

On Monday, October 3rd, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) announced that it will not rehear United States v. Texas in its 2016-2017 term. At issue in this case was the legality of two of the executive actions on immigration that President Obama announced on November 20, 2014.

These actions would expand eligibility for the existing Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, and create a new program (Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents or DAPA for short) that would allow parents of children who are U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents to seek benefits similar to DACA.

USCIS expected to begin accepting applications on February 18, 2015.  However, on February 16, 2015, a Texas federal district court temporarily enjoined the government from implementing these immigration initiatives because Texas might suffer harm if these initiatives are implemented.  This injunction was appealed, and the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the injunction.  The government then successfully petitioned SCOTUS to review this case, which affirmed the injunction on June 23, 2016.  The government again petitioned the Supreme Court to hear the case in its new term with the hope that Scalia’s vacant seat would be filled by then. However, on Monday SCOTUS denied that petition.

It’s important to note that the programs have simply been stalled. They have not been ruled unconstitutional. This case will now go back to Judge Andrew Hanen, who initially granted the injunction.

Despite what continues to happen with this case, people may still apply for immigration benefits under the original DACA program. To qualify, you must meet the following criteria:

  1. You were under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012;
  2. You came to the U.S. before you turned 16;
  3. You have continuously resided in the U.S. since June 15, 2007 to present time;
  4. You were physically present in the U.S. on June 15, 2012 and at the time of applying for DACA with USCIS;
  5. You had no lawful status on June 15, 2012;
  6. You:

a. are currently in school

b. have graduated or obtained a certificate of completion from high school

c. have obtained a GED certificate; or

d. are an honorably discharged veteran of the U.S. Coast Guard or Armed Forces; and

7. You have not been convicted of a felony, misdemeanor, or three or more other misdemeanors, and do not otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety

Do you qualify for protection under DACA and want to apply? Have you already received DACA and need to renew? Contact us today to discuss your legal options. And connect with us on social media for the latest details on this case, immigration news, and other legal issues.

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