Recently, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a 4-4 decision in United States v. Texas, a case challenging the expanded Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA). The decision affirms the lower court’s injunction, effectively preventing the implementation of the two Presidential initiatives. The decision will impact millions of undocumented immigrants by eliminating potential employment authorization and protection from removal efforts. The decision also appears to limit the President’s efforts to expand executive authority, at least as it relates to immigration reform. However, the decision does not impact the original DACA program.
The DACA program is a result of executive action in 2012, which provided prosecutorial discretion with respect to minor children who entered the US without inspection or those who are entered legally but are currently out of status and subject to removal. The DACA program does not confer any substantive rights, immigration status, or other pathway to legal citizenship, but is simply an executive branch function establishing policy for the exercise of discretion within the existing law. Participants in the DACA program are eligible for employment authorization and not typically subject to deportation and removal.