On April 18th, eight members of the Supreme Court heard 90 minutes of oral arguments on what is known as DACA and DAPA.
The White House’s representatives argued in favor of expanding an already existing program called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) which gives temporary relief to immigrants who came to the U.S. as children. We know them as Dreamers.
The second part of today’s Supreme Court argument was based on the implementation of DAPA, which would grant a reprieve from imminent deportation to the parents of U.S. citizens and permanent resident children.
In both cases the relief would be temporary.
These individuals would be allowed to work and in most states to obtain a driver license.
But since we do NOT have immigration reform this relief can be reversed at any time by the President. This is what is called executive action but it is not law. Only Congress with the President’s signature on a bill can make immigration reform a reality.
By June 30th the Justices will decide the fate of more than 5 million undocumented immigrants who would be impacted by this reprieve.
How did we get to the Supreme Court?
A lawsuit filed by Texas to stop the President from implementing DACA and DAPA.
Florida joined Texas in this lawsuit. Check out this blog for more background on the situation.
What do Americans think?
MOST Americans believe that deportation is NOT a realistic option.
A Pew Research Center Poll underscored (again) how realistic and generous the American people can be.
72% of Americans said “undocumented immigrants currently living in the U.S. should be allowed to stay in this country legally…”
What impact will DAPA and DACA have?
While the legal battle ensues, we must remember that these actions have a real human cost. A ruling against DAPA won’t just impact immigrant families; it’ll impact ALL families.
The immigration initiatives would improve the lives of American children and families, create jobs, expand the GDP and add billions to our tax coffers.
For Florida, implementing executive action will have a very strong positive impact on our state’s finances:
Taxes: Additional $17 million in taxes for Florida
Cumulative increase in state GDP: $9,426,000,000
Cumulative increases in earnings of all state residents: $6,226,000,000
Average annual number of jobs created: 1,180
Millions of families continue to live in legal limbo, in constant fear of separation, and without any certainty as to when they might be able to live without that fear. Millions of US citizen children will be directly impacted because their parents won’t be able to come forward for this temporary relief from deportation, support their families and contribute even more to our country.
The ultimate answer is for our elected officials to do what three quarters of Americans already support – find a way to legalize immigrants so they can continue to contribute to the prosperity of this great nation.
In the meantime, through executive action 5 million immigrant families could get a reprieve and for up to three years come out of the shadows.
Now we wait. If the decision is a split court amongst the eight judges, the current lower court decision stands. And 5 million people will remain in the shadows until Congress decides to address immigration, or until we have a ninth Justice or until we have a new president.
More uncertainty. More broken families. The American dream on hold.