In a disappointing decision last week, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals denied the Obama Administration’s request to move forward on the Executive Actions announced by the President in November 2014, to expand the current DACA program for Dreamers and create a new DAPA program for some parents of Residents and Citizens.
This Appeals court ruling is essentially a refusal to lift the “stay” imposed by the lower court in Texas and not a ruling on the validity of Obama’s Executive Actions themselves. For background, the legal controversy originally arose when the State of Texas filed a lawsuit against the Obama Administration to stop the President’s Executive Actions from being implemented in February 2015.
Under the President’s Executive Actions, estimated to benefit some 5 Million Immigrants, the expanded DACA program for Dreamers would allow Immigrants who came to the U.S. on or before January 1, 2010 (before the age of 16), to apply for DACA status and a Work Permit, without a restriction on their current age and the new DAPA program would allow parents who came to the U.S. on or before January 1, 2010 and who had U.S. Resident or Citizen children (born before November 20, 2014) to apply for DAPA status and a Work Permit.
It is unfortunate that in recent years there seems to be a conservative, anti-immigrant climate in America and with that, coupled with Congressional inaction on Immigration reform assured until at least 2017, many Immigrants have become hopeless, wondering if their plight will ever change.
However it’s important to understand that this decision is not the final word on the President’s Immigration Executive Actions, since if the Supreme Court rules in Obama’s favor next Spring or Summer, it will be very difficult for any future Republican President or Congress to cancel the program. And the chances of Obama’s success before the Supreme Court though not guaranteed, are good, since every U.S. President since 1956 has used executive prerogative to grant temporary relief to Immigrants and the Supreme Court has repeatedly held in favor of Presidential executive authority. As a result, many experts believe that the decision issued by the Fifth Circuit’s decision will not hold up with the Supreme Court.
With that said, Immigrants need not be too disheartened, since there is still light at the end of the tunnel and while it may take more time, as the saying goes, “good things come to those who wait”.