By Joanna Meza
The U.S. Court of Appeals struck down the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Residents program Monday, ruling that President Obama overstepped his boundaries, by sidestepping Congress after issuing two executive orders allowing qualified immigrants to stay in the country without documentation.
“DAPA would dramatically increase the number of aliens eligible for work authorization, thereby undermining Congress’s stated goal of closely guarding access to work authorization and preserving jobs for those lawfully in the country,” Judge Jerry E. Smith said.
The assenting judges also said it would cost the government money.
This decision affects about 970,000 California residents, according to the Center for Migration Studies.
“We’re not surprised, we’re disappointed,” said Enrique Morones, founder and director of Border Angels a nonprofit organization.
“It’s a shame because people who are blocking this don’t realize they’re affecting families and lives.”
Supporters of a program that allows parents of Americans to stay in the country are hoping the case goes to the Supreme Court.
“[We] are hopeful that the Supreme Court will finally allow deportation relief for millions of families. Partisan lines aside, Americans overwhelmingly desire a solution to our country’s broken immigration system,” Define American’s Chief Communications Officer Saadia McConville said.
The conservative members of Congress celebrated the ruling.
“The Obama administration does not have unfettered authority to execute whatever it wants,” Republican Sen. Charles Grassley of Iowa, Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said.
But Alex Nowrasteh, an immigration policy analyst at the Cato Institute, said that the decision could actually be a net positive for Democrats seeking to mobilize Latino voters in next year’s presidential elections.
“Its quite a blow to the president’s immigration actions, but it could also be a boom to the Democratic presidential candidate because this case could come up in 2016 during the election season,” he said.
While immigration activists decry the decision, they’re quick to point out that DAPA is not a permanent solution.
“What you have to understand is that DAPA only covers a small percentage,” said RAIZ Deportation Defense Coordinator Alexis Nava Teodoro. “At the end of the day for a lot of people in our community, they’re still going to be in the same situation.”