Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (DAPA) Before Supreme Court
Today the U.S. Supreme Court granted the Obama administration’s petition for review of US, ET AL. V Texas, ET AL. On November 20, 2014, President Obama announced a new deferred action program called Deferred Action for Parents of Americans, also known as DAPA. The DAPA program would affect millions of undocumented immigrants in allowing them to obtain work authorization and remain in the United States. It is important to note that the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (DAPA) does not create any path to Legal Permanent Residency or Citizenship. The program was halted on February 16, 2015 by a U.S. federal judge. The program has been entrenched in litigation since that date. This U.S. Supreme Court decision should answer whether the President can choose who to deport, who not to deport, and when to deport. This has been a source of contention because one of the main arguments against Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (DAPA) is that the President is violating the law if he does not deport undocumented people. Congress has already decided that an undocumented person is inadmissible. However, the Obama Administration’s position is that it can decide how to allocate its resources — including when it will use those resources. This is not a novel concept as police officers already have the power to choose who they arrest; prosecutors can choose what to charge or if to pursue prosecution. This is theory of prosecutorial discretion and it is used every day. It is reported that the Supreme Court is expected to hear arguments on the case in April and deliver a ruling by the end of June.