Immigration advocates have been mostly happy over Tuesday’s announcement by the Supreme Court that it intends to give a final decision on the legal challenge from 26 states, including Texas, against the executive action on immigration reform taken by President Obama in November 2014; however, amidst the excitement is the fear that a negative ruling could adversely impact the 2012 deferred action program.
The failure of the DREAM Act in Congress led to Obama creating the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which is still operational. Although the 2012 program is not directly challenged in the lawsuit, the expansion of the program is, alongside a challenge to the proposed Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (DAPA) program.
Cristina Rodriguez, a professor at Yale Law School, says that if the Supreme Court rules against the Obama administration on the current lawsuit, the older program could find itself in jeopardy if the states decide they want to contest it. Almost 800,000 people have benefited from DACA as of the fiscal year 2015, according to statistics from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. The program currently necessitates two-year renewals.
“I think the deferred action for ‘dreamers’ will rise and fall with DAPA,” says John Yoo, a law professor at the University of California at Berkeley. “If Obama loses on DAPA, which I expect he ultimately will, then he will have thrown out a measure that a majority of Americans support in order to unconstitutionally remake all of immigration law.