On June 23rd, a Supreme Court tie decided the fate of millions of U.S. immigrant families. Because of the split decision in the United States v. Texas case, it was ruled that programs such as DAPA and DACA+ would not go into effect. These programs would have protected 4.5 million immigrants from deportation (x). The case has no chance of receiving a verdict until after Obama is out of office. This leaves the lives of 4.5 million immigrants in the hands of the next presidential candidate.
DACA+ was meant to be an extension to the already existing DACA program which was initiated in 2012. In 2014, Obama announced his plans to get rid of some requirements such as age and year of arrival in order to make more people eligible for the program. He would also increase the longevity of the program to three years instead of two (x). With the original DACA program, a little over 700,000 young immigrants were granted temporary protection status through DACA. Obama’s other plan was to grant temporary relief from deportation to parents (living in the U.S.) of legal residents. In total, these plans would have helped 4.5 million immigrants who have been living in the shadows their entire lives.
With these upgraded programs, Obama sought to prove he was pro-immigration and he wanted to demonstrate that he was only deporting convicted criminals. However, it has been reported that the Obama administration has deported more than 2 million immigrants with 80,000 of them being undocumented parents with resident children (x). Basically, he planned to give parents temporary relief from deportation only until their children turned 21 and could apply for their parents’ residency. DAPA/DACA+ were meant to go into effect February 2015. However, just as the government was about to accept applications, 23 states along with four republican senators, issued an injunction which stopped the continuation of the new programs.
The tie indicates that the court could neither agree on the legitimacy of the case nor the lawfulness of the Obama Administration’s actions in conjuring up DAPA and DACA+. However, the case still stays in this sort of limbo until a final ruling is made. Many pro-immigration groups have threatened to start a new case in which states that are also pro-immigration would sue to go ahead with the programs (x). At the end of his term, Obama will have deported more people than he has protected and will be leaving these 4 million immigrants in the hands of the future presidential candidate. Presidential nominee Donald Trump has said several times that he plans to do away with DACA within his first few days in office while opposing nominee Hilary Clinton, has promised to continue Obama’s immigration policies and will seek a new way to implement DAPA/DACA+.
What some officials do not realize is the extent to which programs like DACA benefit our economy as more and more people obtained higher paying jobs which contributed to our economy because of higher tax revenue. Also, more people are attending college and building careers with DACA. “DACAmented” people can also obtain driver’s licenses which means there are less unlicensed and uninsured drivers on the road (x). With DACA, we have access to health care that we would not otherwise have. DACA creates professionals and paves the way for millions of immigrants to have the life they thought was impossible. However, on Thursday June 23rd, 4.5 million people awaiting the decision that would change their lives, were let down.