Supreme Court votes 4-4 on DACA+ and DAPA
Extension of DACA and Approval of DAPA by the Supreme Court
by Robert Giles, UAO Intern-2016
With President Obama’s executive action for the implementation of DAPA and the expanded DACA having been blocked and returned to the lower court due to a 4-4 split decision by the Supreme Court Justices, much is at stake regarding the upcoming presidential election and the future appointment of a 9th Justice. Many in the African immigrant communities will fully understand and appreciate the implications that such programs, or lack thereof, could possibly have on them and their families regarding temporary protection from deportation and newly permitted work authorization. With the recent deadlocked decision and the impending termination of the Obama Administration, there is much to be concerned about regarding the livelihoods of such immigrant families and the policies concerning deferred action that directly affect them.
It is important to understand that the expansion of DACA and the approval of DAPA can yield some tremendously beneficial outcomes to all parties involved. If, in the future, the issue returns to the Supreme Court and the Justices rule in favor of the federal government, the impact of these programs will positively impact the economy. For instance, if several million people are now allotted the ability to work legally, this would equate to additional spending in local economies, as income from undocumented workers would increase. Accordingly, this would seamlessly lead to additional government revenue in the form of sales taxes. Further, the additional income will increase the income tax base that the government can utilize for public services. Hence, more revenue generated by additional people paying more taxes will assist local, state, and federal governments. Interestingly, such individuals would not likely stand to gain any benefits from the contributions made to Social Security, as these programs do not allow for any permanent status. As such, one may not find valid argument against these programs regarding Social Security retirement benefits, as the originally undocumented immigrants are allowed to support themselves while contributing to the tax base, yet they will not retire and receive Social Security retirement benefits in that they are not granted the chance permanently reside in the U.S. through these programs. This would instead require them to seek lawful permanent residency.
Other important factors to note about the potential benefits of these programs include the positive effects this will likely have on families, particularly in terms of children and their development. A lesser number of parents facing deportation will accordingly equate to a smaller number of children being subjected to that of foster care. As family cohesiveness is undoubtedly important, such as regarding the negative psychological effects that a lack of parenting may have on the child, the impacts of this policy can greatly and positively influence and increase family stability, further inducing educational and economic gains for countless numbers of children. The deportation of a parent may often come with the dilemma of bringing the child or children back to the country of origin, which may not be an ideal situation in terms of economic opportunities or safety concerns, or leaving the child behind and placing them in foster care. With DAPA allowing parents to work legally, there lies an additional stability factor, as increased financial security can be of great benefit to the children and the family unit as a whole, as financial stressors would undoubtedly lessen with the implementation of such a program that will likely result in expanded career opportunities with greater incomes.
It would be quite remarkable to witness so many immigrant families no longer living in constant fear of deportation and the splitting-up of their family unit. Additionally, the ability for undocumented immigrants to finally come out and show their skills and talents in the workforce would be hugely beneficial to them and their families, along with the supplementary positive economic benefits such unleashed potential would yield. It’s also worth noting that the majority of these undocumented immigrants have been here for many years, often decades. In fact, roughly 69% of these individuals have been present in the U.S. for at least 10 years, and 25% having been here 20 years or more. With so many of these individuals being important, contributing members in their communities, a deportation of these people would likely be a great loss. It would appear only logical to allow this group of people the right to work, advance their education, and to become a contributing member to society while they continue to remain in this country. We must then recognize the positive benefits that a DACA expansion and the DAPA approval would have for so many in our society as a whole, not just the millions of immigrants that these programs would affect. As the humanitarian need for these immigrant families is dire, we must remain hopeful that the citizens of this country will vote for a presidential candidate that favors more positive immigration policies and one that would appoint a 9th Supreme Justice that also appreciates the importance of immigration reform.