Obama Immigration Executive Order: One Year Later: DAPA, DACA Expansion Delay Affects 5 Million Immigrants
It has been one year since President Barack Obama announced the Deferred Action for Parental Accountability (DAPA) and expansion of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. One year later, however, DAPA and DACA’s expanded guidelines have not been implemented due to legal actions.
On Nov. 20, 2014, Obama introduced DAPA, a deferred action program that would allow eligible immigrant parents of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents, who have been in the country since Jan. 1, 2010, to request three-year employment authorization.
Meanwhile, DACA, which was introduced in 2012, was given new guidelines. With the expanded DACA program, eligible applicants currently living in the U.S. before Jan. 1, 2010, may seek a three-year stay instead of the current two-year stay, pending a criminal background check and payment of fines. DAPA would also allow eligible applicants to renew their permit after three years. Approximately 4.9 million undocumented immigrants would have been eligible to deferred action.
Not long after Obama's immigration executive actions, then-Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott filed a lawsuit to block the deferred action programs. Abbott, who currently serves as governor of Texas, said Obama overreached his executive authority and it would have negative affects to the state. Abbott's lawsuit has received support from 25 other states, through Republican governors or attorneys general.
Joining Texas in the lawsuit to block DAPA and DACA's expansion are Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, West Virginia and Wisconsin.
Before DACA's expanded guidelines was set for implementation through the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), a federal immigration agency within the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Judge Andrew Hanen of the U.S. District Court for Southern District of Texas issued a temporary injunction on DAPA and DACA's expansion -- a victory for Abbott -- that halted the federal government from continuing either programs.
The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) filed an appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, but lost on Nov. 9. The loss was expected since the Fifth Circuit leans "right." The DOJ has since confirmed it will appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.
To commemorate the one-year anniversary, Latinos and immigrant advocacy groups are reigniting the call to implement the deferred action programs.
"Despite argument after argument from leading constitutional experts validating the legality of DAPA, Republicans continue to rant and rail against it. Just as the scientific community is to climate change, leading constitutional experts are to DAPA," said Rep. Xavier Becerra, D-Calif., who serves as the House Democratic Caucus chairman, during a press call on Nov. 18. "Every reasonable, non-partisan analysis will tell you that fixing our broken immigration system would lead to more job growth a decrease in our federal budget and strengthen programs like Social Security."
In Texas, the Texas Organizing Project (TOP), the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and Mi Familia Vota are set to gather at Houston's City Hall in support of the immigration executive actions and demonstrate in opposition to Abbott. TOP also confirmed a march to the Texas Governor's Mansion will occur on Saturday, Nov. 21, in Austin, as part of the organization's effort for Abbott to meet with immigrant families that have been affected by the lawsuit.
According to the Center for American Progress (CAP), a left-leaning organization, the U.S. loses $8.4 million in potential GDP for every day the 2014 deferred action programs are not implemented. Over the span of 10 years, DAPA and DACA's expansion will reportedly add $180 billion to the country's GDP.
"On a day when we should be celebrating the enormous positive impact that these executive actions have had on millions of American families and the economy, it is a shame that we have to instead discuss all that we are losing out on," said CAP Associate Director of Immigration Lizet Ocampo.
"When thinking about immigration policy, candidates and elected officials should not just take into account the societal and economic benefits of the executive actions and immigration reform. They should understand the political implications as well. Identifying the millions of American citizens, most of whom are children, whose lives would be positively transformed by DAPA helps us understand how vital the policy really is not only to the immigrant community but to the nation as a whole," Ocampo added.