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Supreme Court Ruling Blocks DACA+ and DAPA Programs

The Supreme Court issued a ruling today that keeps in place an injunction blocking President Obama’s executive action for undocumented immigrants. More than three million immigrants who would have been eligible to apply for the expanded DACA+ and DAPA programs will have their hopes placed on hold by the Court.

The Supreme Court’s decision was greeted with tears in many of New York’s immigrant communities as word spread of the ruling. One young mother told me she does not know how her family will live with the disappointment.

The decision’s devastating impact is not reflected in its wording. The entire decision is only nine words long, merely saying that the court was divided evenly 4-4. Because the lower court had ruled that the executive action could not go forward, the Supreme Court essentially affirmed the injunction without discussing the arguments made by each side or even indicating how each member of the Court voted.

The case now goes back to the lower court for trial with the injunction allowed to remain in place during proceedings. The DAPA and DACA+ programs will not be implemented until at least the lower courts make a decision. Because the Supreme Court was evenly divided, there was no ruling on whether the president’s actions were constitutional or not and the case could wind up back at the Supreme Court in a year or two.

We got a tied vote in the Supreme Court because the Senate refused to do its job under the Constitution and hold confirmation hearing on Garland Merrick, President Obama’s nominee to replace the late Justice Antonin Scalia. The obstruction of conservatives in the Senate is severely damaging the ability of the courts to administer justice.

In spite of the bad news today, the battle for respect for immigrant parents is not lost.

The future of the DACA+ and DAPA programs will depend on who is elected as the next president. The person who takes office in January 2017 can decide to continue pursuing President Obama’s executive action or to rescind the executive order. The next president will also pick the new, tiebreaking member of the Supreme Court. So, we all have to understand, whoever is elected president will have a lot to say about whether DACA+ and DAPA ever go into effect. And you will help make that decision if you vote. 

Finally, a word to those with DACA. Immigrants who already have DACA are unaffected by this ruling. In addition, those who have not yet applied for DACA, but are eligible for the 2012 DACA program, may still apply. 

Pat Young, Esq. is an attorney for CARECEN on Long Island.




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