Split Supreme Court Decision Blocks DAPA
In a one-sentence 4-4 split decision on June 24, 2016, U.S. v. Texas, the U.S. Supreme Court let stand lower court rulings that block the Obama administration’s plan, known as Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (DAPA), to allow approximately 4 million parents of U.S. citizen children to remain in the United States and obtain work authorization.
President Barack Obama called the decision “heartbreaking” for those affected by the ruling “who made their lives here, who’ve raised families here, who hope for the opportunity to work, pay taxes, serve in our military, and fully contribute to the country we all love in an open way.” Hillary Clinton, presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, said the ruling threw “millions of families across our country into a state of uncertainty.” She pledged to “introduce comprehensive immigration reform with a path to citizenship within my first 100 days.”
The decision was not expected to lead to any immediate removals due to the Obama administration’s enforcement priorities. Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson said on June 23, 2016, that he was “disappointed” by the Supreme Court’s ruling. He noted:
It is important to emphasize that this ruling does not affect the existing DACA [Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals] policy, which was not challenged. Eligible individuals may continue to come forward and request initial grants or renewals of DACA, pursuant to the guidelines established in 2012.
We are also moving forward on the other executive actions the President and I announced in November 2014 to reform our immigration system. This includes our changes to the Department’s immigration enforcement priorities. Through these priorities, we are more sharply focused on the removal of convicted criminals; and threats to public safety and national security, and border security. We have ended the controversial Secure Communities program. We are expanding policies designed to help family members of U.S. citizens and permanent residents stay together when removal would result in extreme hardship. And we are taking several actions to make it easier for international students, entrepreneurs, and high-skilled immigrants to contribute to the U.S. economy.
On the other side, Donald Trump, presumptive Republican presidential nominee, said the decision “blocked one of the most unconstitutional actions ever undertaken by a president.” Ken Paxton, Texas’ Republican Attorney General, said it was “a major setback to President Obama’s attempts to expand executive power, and a victory for those who believe in the separation of powers and the rule of law.”
- The Supreme Court’s decision (PDF)
- President Obama’s statements and here
- Secretary Johnson’s statement
- Ms. Clinton’s statement
- Mr. Trump’s statement