On June 23, 2016, the Supreme Court of the United States issued what is known as a per curiam, or unanimous, decision that affirmed the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals decision upholding the federal court injunction of the implementation of the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) and the expansion of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
A per curiam decision is typically issued when the Supreme Court is tied in its decision and merely affirms the lower court decision.
Typically, no opinion is issued with a per curiam decision. The current Supreme Court is made up of eight justices due to the passing of Justice Anton Scalia and the failure of the U.S. Senate to any action on President Obama’s nominee for the vacant Supreme Court seat.
DAPA and expanded DACA are still not in effect
The Supreme Court decision allows the original lawsuit filed by 22 states, four governors, and Nevada’s Attorney General to proceed on its merits. Much of the analysis of the U.S. v Texas decision is mired in legal technicalities, but the practical effect is that an estimated 4.4 million undocumented immigrants are left in a limbo that has been in place since February 16, 2015.
It is important to note that the legality of DAPA and expanded DACA has not been argued nor ruled upon. The arguments against the implementation of DAPA and expanded DACA rest on whether or not the right rules of government and policymaking were properly followed, among other arguments. The U.S. Government has opposed these lawsuits since they were filed. The U.S. Government attempted to have the lawsuits dismissed before the merits could be heard on the basis that the parties opposing DAPA and expanded DACA could not file the lawsuits in the first place. Because the Supreme Court issued its per curiam decision, the lawsuit may proceed and the U.S. Government will have to justify its actions regarding DAPA and expanded DACA to the Federal District Court of Southern Texas before a judge who is more sympathetic to the parties who filed the lawsuit.
To reiterate, DAPA and expanded DACA are still not in effect due to the U.S. v Texas decision on June 23, 2016. Any individual or organization that states that DAPA and expanded DACA are in effect are wrong. The only program currently available is the original DACA program that has been in effect since June 15, 2012. If you or anyone you know could be eligible for DACA benefits, please contact the Asian Law Alliance for a consultation at (408) 287-9710.