The hopes and aspirations of a good segment of the undocumented immigrant population are in the hands of the Supreme Court now that the highest court in the United States has agreed to hear the case United States v. Texas.
This case has the temporary deferral of DAPA and DACA stuck in the judicial system after 25 conservative governors pushed back on what they argue is an excess use of presidential powers.
DAPA would offer relief from deportation and temporary work permits to undocumented parents of U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents. The extended version of DACA in this case would offer deportation exemption and temporary work permits for undocumented immigrants who came as children to the U.S. but were left out of the initial DACA process by being older than 31 years on 6/15/12.
Immigrant rights advocates are confident the case will be solved in their favor since the executive branch has been given broad discretion and legal authority to act in diverse forms of administrative relief.
In addition, there is a list of past presidents – both Republicans and Democrats – who have successfully used forms of administrative relief on groups of immigrants.
The case will be decided by the end of June 2016.
Organizations that support undocumented immigrants suggest to those who may qualify for DAPA and extended DACA to be proactive and start preparing documentation. The ruling will come in the middle of the presidential campaigns, and there is a small window of opportunity to apply before the next president takes office. Thus, advocates will be urging people to apply in big numbers if the ruling is favorable, in case the next president is not friendly to the policy. “The more persons are signed to the process, the more difficult is to take it away,” they said.
The DAPA and extension of DACA processes will be similar to what the DREAMers have gone through since 2012, so we can offer some suggestions:
1. Save money. Currently the DACA application is $465, plus any additional costs like contracting a lawyer if your case presents complications. It is estimated that the application will be at least $465 and could cost more. Start saving!
2. Get ID documents. You will need to prove your identity with your home country documents: Look for passports, birth certificates and any government-issued ID.
3. For DAPA applicants, get documentation of your relationship with a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.
DAPA requires you to be the parent of a U.S. citizen or a child with a green card. Collect a) marriage certificates, b) your child’s U.S. passport, U.S. birth certificate, U.S. naturalization certificate or “green card.”
4. Collect proof of continuous presence in the U.S. Just as with the DACA process, you will need to demonstrate how long you have been in the U.S. through school records, rent payment receipts, assorted bills, passport stamps (if applicable), copies of money orders, bank transactions, or other documents.
5. Do you have criminal record? You will need to document arrests, court dispositions, proof of rehabilitation, etc. Expect a list of offenses that will make applicants ineligible when the process is defined. Collect your history and consult a good lawyer in case your record may be expunged. Be aware of notario fraud.”
6. Consult with an immigration attorney or a BIA-accredited representative from a reputable nonprofit if you have orders of deportation or you have been deported previously.
7. Follow the news, attend forums by immigrant rights organizations and be ready when the process is offered to applicants to review the proposed initiatives.
UPDATE: Weeks following the death of Supreme Court justice Antonin Scalia, the Supreme Court announced Friday 3/4/2016 that it will hear oral arguments in the case U.S. v Texas on Monday, April 18th.
Immigrant rights advocates are expressing confidence that the Supreme Court will allow President Obama’s executive action to proceed, giving the opportunity to 5 million of persons to apply for the extended version of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and a version for parents of legal residents and citizens of the USA (DAPA).