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Supreme Court to begin hearings on DACA and DAPA

Members of the U.S. Supreme Court are scheduled to begin hearing a case on Monday, April 18 related to two of President Obama’s executive orders on immigration. At issue, is whether the members of the court will uphold the two programs known as the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents and the Deferred Action of Childhood Arrivals. At stake, are the livelihoods and futures of not only millions of undocumented and illegal immigrants, but also their U.S-born children, many of whom along with their parents, live in the shadows.

If Obama’s executive orders are upheld, DACA would allow illegal immigrants, who entered the U.S. prior to turning age 16 and before June of 2007, the opportunity to stay in the U.S. and apply for a renewable work permit. Additionally, DAPA would provide protections against deportation as well as a “three-year, renewable work permit,” for illegal immigrants who have children that are U.S. citizens and who have lived in the U.S. since 2010.

In the wake of President Obama’s 2014 announcement introducing both DACA and DAPA, 26 states filed lawsuits against the administration which led to a federal Texas judge issuing “a preliminary injunction blocking the expanded…programs.” If upheld, critics of the programs point to the dangerous implications that could follow if a sitting president is granted the right to circumvent the legal process and effectively and single-handedly change immigration laws.

However, proponents of DACA and DAPA argue the programs are a big step in the right direction of reforming a struggling, if not broken, immigration system and go a long way towards addressing the larger civil and human rights issues. This point rings especially true when you consider that there are an estimated nine million people who live in families where some members are legal U.S. citizens and others are not.

Individuals, who are in the U.S. illegally, are likely to live in a constant state of fear. For qualifying individuals, the protections granted under DACA and DAPA provide a vital opportunity to be able to earn a living wage while also paying taxes and contributing to U.S. society.

Source: The Christian Science Monitor, “For 4 million immigrants, future in US hinges on Supreme Court,” Henry Gass and Lourdes Medrano, April 19, 2016

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