On November 20, 2014, President Obama made a historic announcement that he would use his executive authority to offer administrative relief to nearly 5 million eligible undocumented immigrants nationwide. He did so through two deferred action programs, an expansion of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (Expanded), or Expanded DACA, and a new program called DAPA: Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents, or DAPA. They would have been administered through United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
Why were these Administrative Relief programs delayed and why are they not happening at all now?
In December 2014, shortly after President Obama announced these two programs, Texas and 25 other states filed a lawsuit in a federal district court to stop them from being implemented. The federal district court issued an order that blocks the initiatives from going forward, which was upheld by the intermediate appellate court. The U.S. Supreme Court then agreed to hear the case, United States v. Texas. The Court heard oral arguments in the case on April 18, 2016.
On June 23, 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court deadlocked in a 4-4 decision in this case, United States v. Texas. The Court’s tied decision means that the decision of 5th Circuit Court of Appeals is upheld, and that the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) and the expansion of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (Expanded DACA) programs will not be implemented.
Administrative relief would have provided 5 million eligible people a chance to live and work openly as a part of the American society. In New York State, the Migration Policy Institute estimates that Administrative Relief would have made over 250,000 people newly eligible for deferred action.
Now these people remain in limbo.
UPDATE: On July 18, 2016, the U.S. Justice Department asked the U.S. Supreme Court to rehear this case. The Justice Department acknowledged that U.S. Supreme Court rarely grants rehearings. But the Justice Department urges the Court to rehear this case because there is a pressing need to answer questions about this matter of “great national significance.”