Supreme Court Vote Halts Immigration Reform

A recent Supreme Court vote halted the expansion of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program, which would defer deportation for more than four million immigrants. Many of the 280,000 immigrants who reside in Illinois have contacted an immigration attorney about the impact of the vote.

The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program

President Obama’s policy that calls for deferred deportation actions was established in 2012. It would allow deferred action for undocumented children who came to the United States. Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) applications started in August 2012.

The U.S. Supreme Court reached a split decision on President Obama’s executive orders under the DACA. Many state governors challenged the President’s orders, and the Supreme Court reached a 4-4 split decision. This program would have deferred deportation for more than four million immigrants. Due to the Supreme Court’s vote to halt expansion of the program, millions of immigrants could face deportation in upcoming years. Undocumented Illinois residents who are impacted by this decision are checking the status of their existing applications with an immigration attorney.

DACA Eligibility

According to Department of Homeland Security regulations, eligible candidates must request deferred action for childhood arrivals within a two-year period. Eligible candidates must meet the following requirements:

  • Arrived in the U.S. before the age of 16
  • At least 15 years old to apply and under age 31 on June 15, 2012. If an applicant is 31 years of age or older as of June 15, 2012, they are not eligible for DACA.
  • Lawful visa status expired before June 15, 2012, or entered the U.S. without inspection
  • Lived in the U.S. from June 15, 2007 to the present
  • Present in the U.S. at the time of the DACA application
  • Currently enrolled in school, or a high school graduate, or obtained a GED, or have been honorably discharged from the armed forces or the Coast Guard

In addition to the above requirements, Homeland Security requires that all candidates must have never been convicted of a major misdemeanor or a felony offense, and do not pose a threat to public safety or national security.

DACA applications are free, but fees total approximately $465. Fee waivers are not allowed for deferred applications, but an immigration attorney can explain fee exemptions for applicants who are disabled, in foster care, or have incomes below 150 percent of the poverty level.