Awaiting the Supreme Court’s Decision on DAPA/DACA+
This month–June 2016–the Supreme Court will issue its decision on the Obama administration’s executive action on immigration, otherwise known as DAPA/DACA+. However, with only eight out of nine SCOTUS seats occupied, there might be no decision at all.
In November 2014, President Obama used his prosecutorial discretion to extend “deferred action” to certain undocumented U.S. immigrants, an expansion of a 2012 action called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA. Deferred action means being moved to the bottom of the list for deportation; under DACA, this also granted recipients a two-year work visa.
DAPA/DACA+ was intended to grant deferred action to more recent childhood arrivals as well as qualifying parents of DACA recipients. However, 26 states sued the Obama administration over the action and placed an “injunction” on the program, suspending its implementation. When the White House appealed the Federal Circuit Court’s decision in the states’ favor, the Supreme Court agreed to hear the appeal.
The death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia initially boded well for DAPA/DACA+: the far-right justice would have surely ruled against the program, and now Obama had the chance to appoint a justice who might rule in his favor. But the Republican-controlled legislature has refused to approve Obama’s appointee, Merrick Garland. Now, in the likely event of a 4-4 tie, the Supreme Court will either postpone its ultimate decision until the vacancy has been filled, or it will defer to the Circuit Court’s decision. This latter option would be disastrous, a missed opportunity to bring more than 5 million mothers, fathers, and children out of the shadows.
In the face of legislative obtrusion, the eight Supreme Court justices should honor their own traditions and wait to be joined by a ninth justice before issuing a decision that will affect the lives of millions.
Featured Image: Demonstrators protest against a Supreme Court decision on immigration outside the New York Supreme court, Friday, June 24, 2016. Source: WashingtonTimes.com