Community Advisory Regarding Supreme Court Decision on DAPA and Expanded DACA

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Through a 4-4 tie, the U.S. Supreme Court has just ruled on 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 immigration protections known as DAPA and the expansion of DACA, from being implemented.

We are deeply disappointed in this ruling. Since the President’s announcement of the executive actions in November of 2014, individuals and families across the country and Washington State have waited and hoped for the opportunity to live free of fear and to more fully participate in our communities. If the program had been able to move forward, as many as 100,000 community members in our state could have benefited from the deferred action programs through the opportunity to obtain work permits as well as by having the threat of deportation lifted.

Click here to download an English and Spanish version of this advisory as a PDF

Basics

On November 20, 2014, President Obama announced a number of proposed changes to immigration policy.  Among them was that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) would be granting a temporary form of immigration protection called “deferred action” to individuals who met certain requirements, a program that has been referred to as “DAPA,” and that an existing program known as DACA would be expanded. In February 2015, a court in Texas put the DAPA and expanded DACA proposals on hold and this decision was ultimately appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court. On June 23, 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court announced that it had reached a deadlock because of a 4-4 tie.  This means the lower court decision to keep the new programs on hold remains in place pending further legal proceedings.

What does Deferred Action mean?

Deferred action essentially means that the government knows an individual is in the country without permission but is not seeking to deport them.  It allows the person to apply for a work permit, though this is not automatic.  Deferred action is not permanent status and will not allow someone to eventually apply for citizenship or a green card by itself.

Can I apply for the DAPA or expanded DACA programs that the President announced in Nov. 2014? 

YOU CANNOT APPLY FOR THE DAPA AND EXPANDED DACA PROGRAMS.  The courts have put these programs on hold and there is no application process at this time. NWIRP urges community members to be cautious as these types of situations have generated opportunities for scams in the past.

I am in removal (deportation) proceedings, what should I do? 

If you are represented by an attorney, you can contact her/him.  If you are not, you should consult with an attorney as soon as possible. If you cannot afford an attorney, you can contact NWIRP’s offices at the numbers listed below.

Does the Supreme Court affect the original DACA program? 

The Supreme Court case does not directly involve the DACA program that has been in place since 2012.  People who qualify under the original terms of the DACA program can still apply for that program.  However, the Supreme Court case does affect the expansion of DACA that the President proposed.  That expansion remains on hold.

Is there anything I can do now if I think I would have qualified for DAPA? 

While it is unclear at this time if the DAPA or expanded DACA programs might still be implemented at some later point, there are some general pieces of advice for undocumented individuals: 1) Undocumented individuals who have not already done so should consult with an immigration attorney or accredited representative to explore whether they qualify for any avenues under existing law to obtain immigration status; 2) Undocumented individuals should collect and keep documentation they already have that shows they have been living in the U.S., since this information might be helpful in the future; however, they should NOT submit anything to the government yet; 3) Undocumented individuals should stay informed about changes to immigration policy and beware of scams; and 4) Undocumented individuals should not travel outside the U.S. without consulting an attorney or accredited representative as this may lead them to not to qualify for future immigration benefits.

NWIRP offices: Western WA (Seattle) – 206-587-4009 | Yakima Valley (Granger) – 888-756-3641 | Wenatchee – 866-271-2084