The Supreme Court is expected to hand down as early as this week a decision in U.S. v. Texas, a lawsuit brought by 26 states against the Obama administration for its executive actions allowing certain undocumented immigrants to stay in the U.S.
DAPA, which stands for “Deferred Action for Parents of Americans,” allows undocumented immigrants who have citizen children to file for papers that would allow them to stay in the U.S. for three years without being deported, as well as to get work authorization.
In essence, the program, created by executive action, prevents families with mixed-immigration status from being broken apart through deportation. Requirements for DAPA enrollees include passing a background check and having at least five years’ residency in the U.S. DAPA is also renewable after three years.
According to a PRRI/RNS survey from June 2015, 73 percent of Americans support DAPA. There is a clear majority of support in both political parties: 65 percent of Republicans and 79 percent of Democrats.
Similarly, 66 percent of Americans support the DREAM Act, which would allow undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children to gain legal status by joining the military or going to college. The DREAM Act has so far failed to pass Congress.
Similar numbers support a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants.
Despite overwhelming support for immigration reform, including DAPA and expanded DACA, 26 states — led by the state of Texas — filed suit against the Obama administration for allegedly overstepping the bounds of executive power by creating the DAPA program.
The lawsuit also challenges the Obama administration’s expansion of DACA, which stands for “Deferred Action for Children of Americans.” DACA, created in 2012, allows about 1.2 million eligible undocumented immigrants who entered the U.S. as children to receive similar protection from deportation and work authorization. The expansion makes an additional 270,000 people eligible for DACA.
Because of the lawsuit, DAPA and expanded DACA were never actually implemented. U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen of Brownsville, Texas put injunctions on both.
In order to allow both programs to move forward, the Obama administration will need to win a 5-3 majority in the Court, or better. A 4-4 tie would leave the injunctions in place, without resolving the question of the programs’ legality.