Category Archive DACA Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals

ByPhillip Kim

Supreme Court Tie Blocks Obama Immigration Plan- DAPA & DACA expanded

Today, June 23, 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court deadlocked in a 4 to 4 split in the long-awaited case, United States v. Texas, effectively upholding the lower court’s injunction halting the expansion of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and the creation of a new program known as Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA). The original DACA program remains in place.

The decision was just nine words long: “The judgment is affirmed by an equally divided court.”

The case, United States v. Texas, No. 15-674, concerned a 2014 executive action by the president to allow as many as five million unauthorized immigrants who were the parents of citizens or of lawful permanent residents to apply for a program that would spare them from deportation and provide them with work permits. The program was called Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents, or DAPA.

The court did not disclose how the justices had voted, but they were almost certainly split along ideological lines. Administration officials had hoped that Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. would join the court’s four-member liberal wing to save the program.

The case hinged in part on whether Texas had suffered the sort of direct and concrete injury that gave it standing to sue. Texas said it had standing because it would be costly for the state to give driver’s licenses to immigrants affected by the federal policy.

Chief Justice Roberts is often skeptical of expansive standing arguments. But it seemed plain when the case was argued in April that he was satisfied that Texas had standing, paving the way for a deadlock.

White House officials had repeatedly argued that presidents in both parties had used similar executive authority in applying the nation’s immigration laws. And they said Congress had granted federal law enforcement wide discretion over how those laws should be carried out.

But the court’s ruling may mean that the next president will again need to seek a congressional compromise to overhaul the nation’s immigration laws. And it left immigration activists deeply disappointed.

In their Supreme Court briefs, the states acknowledged that the president had wide authority over immigration matters, telling the justices that “the executive does have enforcement discretion to forbear from removing aliens on an individual basis.” Their quarrel, they said, was with what they called a blanket grant of “lawful presence” to millions of immigrants, entitling them to various benefits.

In response, Solicitor General Donald B. Verrilli Jr. told the justices that this “lawful presence” was merely what had always followed from the executive branch’s decision not to deport someone for a given period of time.

Speaking at the White House, President Obama described the ruling as a deep disappointment for immigrants who would not be able to emerge from the threat of deportation for at least the balance of his term.

“Today’s decision is frustrating to those who seek to grow our economy and bring a rationality to our immigration system,” he said. “It is heartbreaking for the millions of immigrants who have made their lives here.”
(from nytimes)

ByPhillip Kim

Obama Administration Files Brief in DACA/DAPA Case at Supreme Court.

The Obama Administration filed its brief with the Supreme Court in United States v. Texas, the case where Texas and 25 other states are challenging the President’s executive action on expanded Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA). The brief sets forth the arguments for why the Fifth Circuit was wrong to block expanded DACA and DAPA from being implemented.

The Obama Administration begins by saying simply that this case does not even belong in court. The states bringing suit are trying to force the Supreme Court into “complex debates over immigration policy that the Constitution reserves to the political Branches of the National Government.” And for this simple reason alone, the Fifth Circuit’s ruling should be reversed.

The government explains that none of the states in this suit have standing—legal capacity to bring the lawsuit. The states have previously argued that they have a legal stake in the case because of additional costs Texas might incur to issue drivers’ licenses to individuals granted deferred action. The Administration states in its brief that these claims “are nothing more than allegations of indirect or incidental effects from the [DAPA] Guidance, not invasions of any legally-protected interest under the Constitution.” In fact, “virtually any administration of federal law by a federal agency could have such effects.”

The Obama Administration also makes the important point that even the States do not dispute that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) can set enforcement priorities—that DHS may choose how to use its limited resources and exercise prosecutorial discretion—and, that DHS’s prioritization is immune from court intervention. Yet, the States object here because they believe that the grant of work authorization to individuals who get deferred action makes deferred action different from prioritizing enforcement activities. As Roll Call notes, the Administration explains why the States are wrong on this point:

“’deferred action’” is one of the well-established ways that the department exercises enforcement discretion, the government brief states. And it points out several laws (PL 109-13, PL 103-322, PL 107-56) that Congress passed that refer to deferred actions in immigration, such as a 2005 law allowing states to issue driver’s licenses to immigrants with “approved deferred action status.”

In addition, the Administration’s brief discusses the “take care” clause. When the Supreme Court agreed to hear the case, it directed both sides to address whether the President’s actions violated the “Take Care” Clause of the Constitution, which states that the President must “take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed.” The government notes that previously the Supreme Court has stated that the President’s duty to faithfully execute the laws is “purely executive and political and not subject to judicial direction” and regardless the Secretary of Homeland Security is faithfully executing the “immigration laws, fully utilizing DHS’s appropriations for enforcement and removing hundreds of thousands of aliens each year.”

Now that the government has filed its brief, those who wish to file an amicus brief (a friend of the court brief) in support of the Obama Administration’s position have until March 8 to file. Texas and the other states have until March 28 to file their brief in the case.

Oral arguments in the case will likely be scheduled for April 2016, and the Court will likely issue a decision before its current term ends at the end of June 2016. For the sake of the immigrant families whose lives are riding on this decision, let’s hope that the Court makes clear that President Obama, like every President before him dating back to Eisenhower, has the authority to take executive action on immigration. from immigrationimpact.

ByPhillip Kim

Obama Appeals Executive Action to Supreme Court – DACA DAPA immigration ruling by 5th Circuit

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration appealed to the Supreme Court on Friday for an expedited review of its plan to shield more than 4 million undocumented immigrants from deportation.

The request, outlined in a 35-page court filing, asserts that the case “warrants immediate review” because of an “unprecedented and momentous” ruling from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit earlier this month that upheld a challenge to the deferred deportation plan brought by Texas and 25 other states led by Republican governors.

“If left undisturbed, that ruling will allow states to frustrate the federal government’s enforcement of the nation’s immigration laws,” the Justice Department said. “It will force millions of people … who are parents of U.S. citizens and permanent residents to continue to work off the books, without the option of lawful employment to provide for their families.”

The administration’s appeal sets up the possibility of a major legal battle over immigration at the end of President Obama’s tenure, in the midst of partisan battles over Syrian refugees, and in the midst of an already caustic presidential election campaign.

Arguing that the federal appeals court ruling earlier this month had “far-reaching and irreparable humanitarian impact,” administration lawyers said the lower court decision bars an estimated 4 million parents “who have lived in this country for years, would pass a background check, are not priorities for removal and have a son or daughter who is a U.S. citizen or a lawful permanent resident.”

The coalition of Republican governors had argued to the appeals court that Obama lacked the authority to protect about one-third of the nation’s undocumented immigrants by executive fiat. The authority that the administration claimed, the court said in a 2-1 ruling, would allow it “to grant lawful presence and work authorization to any illegal alien in the United States.”

The administration and immigration rights groups have hung their hopes on the Supreme Court rather than the conservative appeals court with jurisdiction over Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi. But the four-month wait for the lower court’s ruling means that the administration had to rush its appeal in hopes of getting the case on the high court’s docket this term.

Texas now has a month to respond, and the justices could take up the request in early January — barely enough time to schedule the case for oral arguments in April and a decision by the end of June. That is the scenario the administration seeks; a decision reversing the appeals court — hardly a guarantee — would give the Department of Homeland Security seven months to begin implementing the policy before Obama’s term ends in January 2017.

If the case is not heard until later in 2016, even a reversal would leave the 4.3 million undocumented immigrants deemed eligible for the program at the mercy of the next president — either a Democrat who likely would continue the program or a Republican who likely would have campaigned against it.

Obama unveiled the program exactly a year ago as an extension of his 2012 policy delaying the threat of deportation for about 770,000 undocumented immigrants brought to the country as children. The new plan would broaden that program and add protections for adults with children who are U.S. citizens. It would make them eligible for driver’s licenses, work permits and a host of health care, disability and retirement benefits.

Federal District Court Judge Andrew Hanen temporarily blocked the program in February, ruling that the states were likely to win their argument that Obama lacked executive authority to carry out the plan without congressional action, or at the least a formal period for public comment. In May, the appeals court panel refused to let the program continue while it considered the appeal.

In its ruling earlier this month, the appeals court’s 2-1 majority said Obama’s program “would allow illegal aliens to receive the benefits of lawful presence solely on account of their children’s immigration status, without complying with any of the requirements … that Congress has deliberately imposed.”

Their ruling said the program “would dramatically increase the number of aliens eligible for work authorization, thereby undermining Congress’s stated goal of closely guarding access to work authorization and preserving jobs for those lawfully in the country.”

Judge Carolyn Dineen King dissented, arguing that the deferred action program was an “exercise of prosecutorial discretion” beyond the reach of federal court judges. She also criticized her court for stalling well beyond its normal 60-day period of review.

“I have a firm and definite conviction that a mistake has been made,” she said. “That mistake has been exacerbated by the extended delay that has occurred in deciding this ‘expedited’ appeal. There is no justification for that delay.”

ByPhillip Kim

Latest News on DAPA; DACA under 2012 announcement is NOT affected by the 02/16/15 court decision.

DACA under 2012 announcement is NOT affected by the 02/16/15 court decision.

It means that you may still file for DACA if you meet the requirements under 2012 announcement; and you may also renew it if your DACA was approved.

Here is the Statement by Secretary Jeh C. Johnson Concerning the District Court’s Ruling Concerning DAPA and DACA:

I strongly disagree with Judge Hanen’s decision to temporarily enjoin implementation of Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) and expanded Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). The Department of Justice will appeal that temporary injunction; in the meantime, we recognize we must comply with it.

Accordingly, the Department of Homeland Security will not begin accepting requests for the expansion of DACA tomorrow, February 18, as originally planned. Until further notice, we will also suspend the plan to accept requests for DAPA.

The Department of Justice, legal scholars, immigration experts and even other courts have said that our actions are well within our legal authority. Our actions will also benefit the economy and promote law enforcement. We fully expect to ultimately prevail in the courts, and we will be prepared to implement DAPA and expanded DACA once we do.

It is important to emphasize what the District Court’s order does not affect.

The Court’s order does not affect the existing DACA. Individuals may continue to come forward and request initial grant of DACA or renewal of DACA pursuant to the guidelines established in 2012.

Nor does the Court’s order affect this Department’s ability to set and implement enforcement priorities. The priorities established in my November 20, 2014 memorandum entitled “Policies for the Apprehension, Detention and Removal of Undocumented Immigrants” remain in full force and effect. Pursuant to those enforcement priorities, we continue to prioritize public safety, national security, and border security. I am pleased that an increasing percentage of removals each year are of those convicted of crimes. I am also pleased that, due in large part to our investments in and prioritization of border security, apprehensions at the southern border – a large indicator of total attempts to cross the border illegally — are now at the lowest levels in years.

ByPhillip Kim

DACA & DAPA on Temporary Hold- latest news on executive action

DACA DAPA Latest News: USCIS will not process DACA & DAPA applications until the further decisions from the court.

On 02/16/2015, Monday, U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen granted the preliminary injunction after hearing arguments in Brownsville, Texas last month. He wrote in a memorandum accompanying his order that the lawsuit should go forward and that without a preliminary injunction the states will “suffer irreparable harm in this case.”

In a statement early Tuesday, 02/17/15, the White House defended the executive orders issued in November as within the president’s legal authority, saying the U.S. Supreme Court and Congress have said federal officials can establish priorities in enforcing immigration laws.

Among those supporting Obama’s executive order is a group of 12 mostly liberal states, including Washington and California, as well as the District of Columbia. They filed a motion with Judge Hanen in support of Obama, arguing the directives will substantially benefit states and will further the public interest.
A group of law enforcement officials, including the Major Cities Chiefs Association and more than 20 police chiefs and sheriffs from across the country, also filed a motion in support, arguing the executive action will improve public safety by encouraging cooperation between police and individuals with concerns about their immigration status.
The appeal will be heard by the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans.

The DHS and USCIS and others are enjoined from implementing any part of DAPA and DACA until the further order of the court.

ByPhillip Kim

Updates on Obama’s Executive Action

Here are the updates:
You may start filing in March/June 2015.

The following needs to be proven with documents:
• Identity;
• Relationship to a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident; and
• Continuous residence in the United States over the last five years or more.

Documents to gather:
Birth certificates, Marriage certificates, School records, Bills, Hospital records, Taxes filed, etc.

Q: What if your case is denied?
A: USCIS could contact ICE for deportation under its current policy. So, make sure you are eligible before filing.

Q: If I currently have 2-year DACA, can I receive the 3-year permit under the new Exec. Action?
A: You might. USCIS is exploring how to extend to the new three-year period.

*** For future updates, LIKE my Facebook page:

ByPhillip Kim

Unauthorized Immigrants Today: A Demographic Profile

Data from the U.S. Census Bureau and other sources provide some much-needed social context to the immigration debate.

(1) Three-fifths of unauthorized immigrants have been here for over a decade.

(2) One out of every 20 U.S. workers is an unauthorized immigrant.

(3) While unauthorized immigrants are concentrated in California, Texas, Florida, and New York, there are sizeable populations of unauthorized immigrants in other states across the country.

(4) Three-fifths of unauthorized immigrants come from Mexico, but significant numbers also come from Central America and the Philippines.

(5) Nearly half of all adult unauthorized immigrants have children under the age of 18, and roughly 4.5 million native-born U.S.-citizen children have at least one parent who is an unauthorized immigrant.

(6) More than half of unauthorized immigrant adults have a high-school diploma or more education.

(7) Nearly half of longtime unauthorized households are homeowners.

(8) Approximately two-fifths of unauthorized immigrant adults attend religious services every week.

(9) The size of the unauthorized population stands at just under 12 million.

(10) The Pew Research Center estimates that there were 11.7 million unauthorized immigrants in the country as of 2012; virtually the same as in 2008. This was down from a high of 12.2 million in 2007, but up from 8.6 million in 2000

*** As you can see above, most unauthorized immigrants are already integrating into U.S. society not only through their jobs, but through their families and communities as well.


ByPhillip Kim

Obama Wants to Issue Work Permits to Undocumented Immigrants before November Mid-Term Elections

Even as they grapple with an immigration crisis at the border, White House officials are making plans to act before November’s mid-term elections to grant work permits to potentially millions of immigrants who are in this country illegally, allowing them to stay in the United States without threat of deportation, according to advocates and lawmakers in touch with the administration.

Such a large-scale move on immigration could scramble election-year politics and lead some conservative Republicans to push for impeachment proceedings against President Barack Obama, a prospect White House officials have openly discussed.

Yet there’s little sign that the urgent humanitarian situation in South Texas, where unaccompanied minors have been showing up by the tens of thousands from Central America, has impeded Obama from making plans to address some portion of the 11.5 million immigrants now in this country illegally. Obama announced late last month that congressional efforts to remake the nation’s dysfunctional immigration system were dead and he would proceed on his own authority to fix the system where he could.

Since then he’s asked Congress for $3.7 billion to deal with the crisis of unaccompanied youths, a request that’s gone unmet even as the House and the Senate scramble to see if they can vote on some solution to the crisis this week before adjourning for their annual August recess.

Meanwhile, White House officials led by Domestic Policy Council Director Cecilia Munoz and White House Counsel Neil Eggleston, along with Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson, have been working to chart a plan on executive actions Obama could take, hosting frequent meetings with interest groups and listening to recommendations from immigration advocates, law enforcement officials, religious leaders, Hispanic lawmakers and others.

Advocates and lawmakers who were in separate meetings Friday said that administration officials are weighing a range of options including reforms to the deportation system and ways to grant relief from deportation to targeted populations in the country, likely by expanding Obama’s two-year-old directive that granted work permits to certain immigrants brought here illegally as youths. That program, called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, has been extended to more than 500,000 immigrants so far.

Advocates would like to see deferred action made available to anyone who would have been eligible for eventual citizenship under a comprehensive immigration bill the Senate passed last year, which would be around 9 million people. But Obama told them in a meeting a month ago to “right-size” expectations, even as he pledged to be aggressive in steps he does take.

That’s led advocates to focus on other populations Obama might address, including parents or legal guardians of U.S. citizen children (around 3.8 million people as of 2009, according to an analysis by Pew Research’s Hispanic Trends Project) and parents or legal guardians of DACA recipients (perhaps 500,000 to 1 million people, according to the Fair Immigration Reform Movement).

“Our parents deserve to live without the fear of deportation,” Maria Praeli, a 21-year-old who came to the United States from Peru 16 years ago, said at a protest outside the White House on Monday. “It is time for the president to go big and to go bold.”

Another focus could be the potentially hundreds of thousands of people who might be eligible for green cards today if current law didn’t require them to leave the country for 10 years before applying for one.

At the same time, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce says it is actively working to determine whether there are steps Obama could take by executive action that could help the business community.

For Obama, the political repercussions of broad executive action on immigration could be unpredictable, and extreme.

Republicans are warning he could provoke a constitutional crisis.

“It would be an affront to the people of this country which they will never forgive, it would be a permanent stain on your presidency,” Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., said on the Senate floor Monday, while urging language to block such executive action be made part of any legislation to address the border crisis.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., announced plans to use an oversight hearing on the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services agency Tuesday to raise questions about Obama’s plans, which he warned could “worsen the border crisis and encourage many more to come.”

On the other side, some Democrats have debated the best timing for Obama to take executive action, raising questions as to whether acting before the midterms could hurt vulnerable Senate Democrats in close races while boosting turnout among the GOP base.

But liberal advocates noted that Obama’s move on deferred action two years ago gave him a boost heading into his re-election and could help this year with Latino voters discouraged over the failure of immigration reform legislation and record-high deportations on Obama’s watch. Republicans would be in a position of deciding whether to come out in favor of deporting sympathetic groups, such as parents, and many liberals say impeachment talk would only shore up Democratic base voters.

“Most Democrats will be thrilled” if Obama acts boldly on immigration, said Frank Sharry, executive director of America’s Voice, a leading advocacy group. “And Republicans will keep lurching to the right and cementing their reputation as the anti-immigrant party.”

(From AP and Yahoo News)

ByPhillip Kim

Obama Administration Will Allow Undocumented Illegal Immigrants Under DACA to Join the Military

The Obama Administration approved a policy expansion to the current existing Military Access Vital to National Interest (“MAVNI”) plan which would allow young undocumented illegal immigrants approved under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program (“DACA”) to join the United States military. To join the military under MAVNI, a person must possess specialized language or medical skills needed by the military. Enlistment in the military would create a pathway for expedited US citizenship for those who qualify.

Federal law does not allow any person to be naturalized unless the person has been lawfully admitted to the United States for permanent residence. MAVNI was established later to provide an exemption to refugees, asylees, those in Temporary Protected Status (“TPS”)and other foreign nationals to allow them to enlist in the military even though they do not possess a green card. MAVNI has now been expanded by the Obama administration to include DACA recipients also.

ByPhillip Kim

California Will Allow Driver’s Licenses For Undocumented Immigrants Under AB 60

New DMV locations are currently being set up throughout California to accommodate the increase in driver’s license applications due to AB 60. Fresno is amongst one of the cities which will have a new DMV building to accomodate such increase. The new DMV office will replace the current existing DMV office on Olive and Weber Avenue and will be triple the size of the Olive office.

AB 60 was signed into law by California Governor Jerry Brown last year. AB 60 would provide undocumented immigrants the opportunity to apply for a driver’s license in California. This law will be effective January 1, 2015.

The DMV Chief Deputy Director Jean Shiomoto commented in a press release that “This law will improve public safety for all Californians by helping ensure that undocumented persons pass a written and driving test and obtain proof of insurance and license before driving their vehicles in California. Thanks to AB 60, we believe more drivers will be safer on California roads.”

DMV expects to receive about 1.4 million more applications for licenses over the next three years beginning in 2015 when the AB 60 law takes effect.

Governor Brown has proposed a state budget of $64.7 million to the DMV which will include hiring approximately 900 more employees statewide and for expansion of facilities.