Upcoming U.S. Election, Court Cases Could Impact Future of DACA

by Raymond G. Lahoud, Esquire

While every presidential election has the potential to change the future of those living within a country’s borders, the upcoming 2016 national election in the United States brings a significant amount of uncertainty for young immigrants. In particular, the potential reversal of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy could remove many opportunities for undocumented minors.

Understanding DACA

In an effort to protect children who were brought to the United States without proper documentation, U.S. President Barack Obama used executive action to create the DACA immigration policy. Under the policy, immigrants who came to the United States prior to June 2007 and before turning 16 years of age may be eligible for certain protections and opportunities. Most prominently, those who qualify under DACA may be exempt from deportation and be eligible for a two-year U.S. work permit.

What’s at stake?

In January 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear a case filed by 26 states against DACA and other provisions that allow similar permits and exemptions. Some believe that the future of DACA will also influence or be closely intertwined with the fate of Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (DAPA), which issues certain rights to undocumented mothers and fathers of U.S. citizens.

As of last year, more than 800,000 individuals are protected under DACA. Together, the DACA and DAPA immigration policies in question affect up to 5 million people in the United States. Should the court decide in favor of the states and against the president’s policy, those affected by the ruling could face significant changes to their legal status in the United States.

The fate of DACA

The November elections will open the door for significant changes not only in the Oval Office but also in Congress. While some members of government do not agree with the DACA policies, others believe these policies allow authorities to focus on the deportation of immigrants who are involved in dangerous or criminal activity, rather than on the deportation of minors. As Americans head to the polls this fall, the fate of these policies will most likely be left in the hands of those who are voted into office.

Additionally, the elected officials who take office in January may be faced with confirming a new justice to the Supreme Court. With the opening of a seat on the Supreme Court comes further influence on policy and the outcome of the states’ case against DACA.

If you or your loved ones have questions about immigration policies such as DACA or DAPA, a knowledgeable lawyer can help. You can speak with an experienced Pennsylvania immigration and deportation defense attorney today by contacting Baurkot & Baurkot.