Supreme Court Decision on DAPA

What does the Supreme Court’s Decision on DAPA mean for Michigan Residents?

In November 2014, President Barack Obama announced his administration’s plan for Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (DAPA), a program that would defer the deportation of an estimated five million qualifying illegal aliens in the United States. Under the plan, illegal aliens would have been able to shield themselves from deportation if their children were American citizens or permanent residents. The plan would defer deportation and grant temporary work permits for these parents if they passed a required background check.

Twenty six states, including Texas and Michigan, sued the federal government in hopes of derailing the program. They argued that the President overstepped his authority by creating such rules by executive order rather than through the Congressional legislative process. In United States v. Texas, a Federal District Court judge in Texas agreed to grant the plaintiffs a preliminary injunction freezing the President’s plan until the case is fully resolved.

The administration appealed the preliminary injunction and the Fifth Circuit Court affirmed the District Court’s opinion. The case reached the Supreme Court, where a divided court was deadlocked on the issue. The June 23rd opinion was tied 4-4, which means that the opinions of the district and circuit courts stand.

So what does all this mean for Michiganders? The preliminary injunction issued by the Texas District Court did not bind government action in Texas only, but across the entire United States. Those who may have qualified, especially in south-east Michigan’s large immigrant communities, can no longer benefit from the program. According to the Center for American Progress, that’s an estimated 43,000 children in Michigan who will not be able to use the plan and whose parents will continue to live in the shadows.

It’s unclear how the issue will process from here. The case will need to go back to the District Court to be fully argued. There will likely be an appeal to the Fifth Circuit and possibly the Supreme Court, a process that will not result in a resolution until after 2016. The Obama Administration has already asked the Supreme Court to reconsider the case once it has nine justices, but that seems to be an unlikely proposition.

It is important for anyone who may be adversely affected by these decisions to seek the advice of legal counsel. Your communications with your attorney are protected under attorney-client privilege and seeking legal help will not adversely affect you or your case.