Both Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Deferred Action for Parents of Americans, (DAPA) are being challenged by a group of 26 states that assert Obama overstepped his authority with these Executive Orders.
In February 2015, U.S. District Judge Andrew S. Hanen of Texas issued a preliminary injunction preventing the administration from starting the programs’ implementation.
In May, a three-judge panel of the Fifth Circuit denied the administration’s request to lift Hanen’s stay after hearing oral argument from both sides. The arguments heard on July 10th represent the latest development in this ongoing court case.
The extended DACA and new DAPA programs Obama ordered would provide temporary relief from the threat of deportation for an estimated 4.9 million undocumented immigrants currently living in the United States.
The programs would, among other features, offer 3-year work permits to undocumented parents of citizens and other legal residents, as well as those who entered the country prior to age 16 (“the Dreamers”). These immigrants would not include recent arrivals or those with serious criminal records.
A major dispute at issue in the case is whether states have “legal standing” to challenge the federal government regarding the country’s immigration policies, as this has long been considered the domain of the federal government.
With this in mind, attorneys for the Obama administration have argued that the federal government alone sets immigration policy, and that the president acted properly and within his authority when creating DAPA and DACA.
Legal counsel from the State of Texas countered that states like his do in fact have the requisite standing to challenge the laws, since they would would face numerous costs associated with these programs, including the cost of issuing millions of new driver’s licenses.
The judges in the Fifth Circuit are expected to rule within the next several months. When they do, the “losing” side will likely appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, which will have the final word on this important matter.