President Obama’s executive action that would have provided immigration relief and work authorization to hundreds of thousands of undocumented foreign national parents of lawful permanent residents (green card holders) or U.S. citizens was originally scheduled to go into effect on May 19, 2015. However, a group of states sued the federal government and lobbied the court to stall the implementation of the new deferred action programs. Since the judge in that case granted the request, the implementation of the programs has been temporarily blocked, leaving the would-be beneficiaries without any immigration-related relief.
Since the court action has left many would-be hopeful DAPA applicants in limbo, these foreign nationals and immigrant rights advocacy groups participated in several marches, demonstrations, and similar events on May 19, 2015, in what was dubbed the DAPA National Day of Action.
Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA)
DAPA was a critical component of the President’s execution action package, which attempted to address a number of important immigration-related issues. DAPA would allow qualifying foreign national parents to apply for a work authorization document that would be valid for three years. More importantly, DAPA recipients would qualify for deferred action (suspension) of deportation proceedings.
In order to request DAPA benefits, the foreign national parent must have been living in the U.S. since January 1, 2010 and have been physically present in the U.S. on November 20, 2014 and on the date when he or she submitted the DAPA application. Additionally, the foreign national must have a clean criminal record.
The Effect of the Judge’s Suspension of DAPA
Millions of undocumented foreign nationals and immigrant rights groups were overjoyed at the President’s announcement of his executive action. Since DAPA provides for the suspension of deportation proceedings, the program would ensure that American families are kept together and that children are not separated from their parents. Additionally, since the program offers work authorization, the U.S. economy was poised to benefit tremendously from the large influx of workers who have been excluded from the workforce due to their undocumented status.
Unfortunately, neither of those benefits are available now, leaving American families in a state of constant worry that one or both of the parents will be placed into deportation proceedings, and leaving American businesses without access to workers who are eager to take on jobs and contribute to the U.S. economy on the national and state levels.
Many DAPA hopefuls had already gathered the necessary evidence to support their applications and made arrangements with immigration attorneys and pro bono groups for assistance on submitting their requests to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.
The Day of Action
The purpose of the DAPA National Day of Action was to call federal and state lawmakers’ attention to the need for the program’s implementation. There were more than 30 events scheduled across the country.
The main event was a march to the house of Texas Governor Greg Abbott. Texas is the named plaintiff in the suit against the federal government challenging the implementation of the executive action programs. It was the hope of the participants that, upon seeing the real people who are adversely affected by the court’s suspension of DAPA, Governor Abbott will be moved to withdraw the lawsuit.
We applaud the DAPA National Day of Action participants for their commitment to making their voices heard across the country and to the nations’ lawmakers. Hopefully, their message comes across loud and clear, and the U.S. can finally move forward on immigration reform. Continue to check back with our blog for the most up to date news on the execution action and all other immigration-related issues.
Additional Blog Posts:
The Government’s War on H-1Bs, ImmigRantings, October 11, 2012
Obama Signs Immigration Executive Order, ImmigRantings, June 15, 2012
Problems with the H-1B visa: From Work Horse to Show Pony, ImmigRantings, February 13, 2012