Will Obama’s immigration executive actions prevail?
More than 4,000 immigrants and advocates gathered outside the highest court of the United States while the justices heard the case of United.States. v. Texas. Among those who were present were immigrant families who are undocumented and who have a stake in the result of the litigation.
Certainly, there were Filipino Americans advocates and families who also joined the rally and were very vocal about their support for the programs. The 4 million individuals who have a stake in this litigation include numerous Filipino families who will benefit from the Obama’s executive actions. The most pressing question after the hearing is, What is the likelihood of a decision in favor of the Obama’s DACA/DAPA executive actions?
United States v. Texas is a lawsuit initiated by 26 States questioning the legality of Obama’s Executive Actions on DAPA and the DACA extension. DAPA refers to Deferred Action for Parental Accountability where deferred action will be granted to undocumented parents of U.S citizens.
The DACA expanded program will allow more undocumented children to apply for deferred action. If deferred action is granted, employment authorizations will be issued to qualified applicants while it does not confer any other immigration benefit such as a pathway to legal resident status.
An estimated 4 million individuals who are currently undocumented are expected to benefit from these DACA and DAPA programs. Implementation of these programs were stalled by court injunction. The case ultimately reached the US Supreme Court and legal arguments were heard by the justices on April 18, 2016.
The issues on standing and the merits of the executive actions were argued well by the U.S. Solicitor General Donald B. Verrilli, Jr. in favor of the DACA/DAPA programs. Verrilli emphasized that the States do not have the standing or legal capacity to bring the lawsuit.
The nature of the controversy was more of a political disagreement with the Federal government rather than a legal dispute. Considering that it is it a political disagreement on federal enforcement, to render a decision in favor of standing will open a floodgate of cases where states may, at anytime, sue the federal government for any political disagreement.
Most of the legal arguments centered on the issue of standing. As to the merits of the DACA/DAPA, the lawyer for the Respondent States, Texas Solicitor General Scott A. Keller wrongly argued that these executive actions confer legal status. This argument was met by the Verrilli’s rebuttal that deferred action does not confer legal status but rather a tolerated presence by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
The decision will be rendered sometime in June 2016. With very compelling and convincing arguments raised during the hearing by Verrilli, a favorable outcome in favor the DAPA/DACA Executive Actions, with at least a 5-3 vote, is hoped for by thousands of families who will be affected by the Supreme Court decision. Unfortunately, with one vacancy in the U.S. Supreme Court, there are only 8 justices. If the justices are divided 4-4, then the injunctions on the executive actions will remain.
Atty. Lourdes Santos Tancinco, Esq. is an immigration attorney with the Tancinco Law Offices, a San Francisco CA based law firm. She may be reached at 1 888 930 0808, [email protected] , facebook.com/tancincolaw, or through her website www.tancinco.com
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