Center for Human Rights and Constitutional Law
 Comprehensive Immigration Reform

DAPA/Expanded DACA

Programs Blocked:

A New Strategy for President Obama and immigrant communities

There are several critically important steps President Obama could take to better protect immigrants and at the same time address head-on the federal court's blocking of his efforts at immigration reform.

Implementation of DAPA and expanded DACA has been blocked by the U.S. District Court and now by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. While the White House has vowed to appeal further to the U.S. Supreme Court, as explained below, the appeal will have little chance of success. Simply put, the Supreme Court is likely to agree that the DAPA/ Expanded DACA program should have been issued as formal regulations, not just as a "policy" of the Department of Homeland Security. President Obama should promptly issue a policy or adopt regulations allowing all immigrants eligible for family or employment-based visas under existing law to apply for and be granted "advance parole" (permission to travel abroad and return to the U.S. through a port of entry) for personal or business purposes.

This is a sensible “border enforcement” proposal. It is well known that undocumented immigrants, including immigrants with pending or approved visa applications, who are playing by the rules and are “in the system,” travel abroad to see family and for other personal reasons. When they return to their residences in the U.S., they do so without inspection, crossing mountains and deserts with the help of human smugglers. The journey is dangerous and diverts the limited resources of the Customs and Border Protection agency (CBP). Allowing these immigrants to return through normal ports of entry can be accomplished with “advance parole.” This would remove the dangers of returning illegally and preserve CBP’s limited enforcement resources. Simply put, these immigrants would return through a normal inspection process rather than traveling across the Southern border entering with the help of human traffickers.

After returning to the U.S. with regular border inspections, thousands of immigrants with already approved visa petitions would immediately become eligible to apply for lawful permanent status. These immigrants cannot adjust their status now solely because of their unlawful initial entries many years ago. We urge advocates to begin providing assistance to visa applicants and those with approved visas to apply for "advance parole." The Center is available to assist and guide advocates. We also urge advocacy groups to call on President Obama to authorize DHS to grant advance parole so these immigrants can visit their families, return to the U.S. with inspection, and then apply for lawful permanent resident status.

Read the full analysis by Peter Schey, Director, Center for Human Rights and Constitutional Law.
Email for technical support.

Read the 5th Circuit's decision in Texas v. United States here

"Comprehensive White House Immigration Reform: President Obama is Missing the Boat and Leaving Millions of Immigrants Stranded" available to download here.