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Split Vote Puts Immigration Reform on Ice

Written By The Shapiro Law Group on June 30, 2016

The U.S. Supreme Court’s 4-4 split decision on President Obama’s executive orders have frozen the expansion of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. These programs would have deferred deportation for more than 4 million immigrants; nearly 280,000 of whom reside in Illinois. It is estimated that the expansion of the DACA program would have benefited nearly 4 million immigrants.

The validity of the executive orders was challenged by state governors who argued the expansion of the program was an overreach of executive authority. The Supreme Court decision means that for now the programs will not be expanded and that millions of immigrants may face deportation in the coming years.

Immigration lawyers in Illinois can help clients navigate their legal options when facing deportation. At the present time, families and individuals who pose no threat to public safety remain at low-risk for deportation. The Supreme Court’s decision will not impact these individuals. Indeed, the Department of Homeland Security retains broad discretion in determining who will, and who won’t be deported.

Undocumented immigrants should meet with an immigration lawyer in Illinois to complete new DACA applications, or to check the status of their existing applications. This is especially important for those who qualify under the guidelines set forth in 2012.

This includes individuals who were under 31 years old on June 15, 2012, came to the United States before they were 16 years old, and have continuously resided in the United States since June 2007. Individuals must also be able to show that they were physically present in the United States in June 2012, and were currently in school, had graduated, or obtained a GED. Finally, individuals must be able to prove that they have no felony convictions or significant misdemeanors on their record. Individuals who “dropped out” of school or are not veterans or currently members of the US Armed Forces remain ineligible for the DACA program.

Immigration reform is going to be a popular discussion throughout this election. Individuals seeking ways to keep their families together should contact immigration lawyers in Illinois for help navigating through the process. It is important to not delay applying for the existing deferral programs and to consider all of the visa options that are currently available. The sooner individuals begin the application process, the sooner the application can be reviewed and accepted.