President Obama’s 2014 executive order would have allowed as many as five million undocumented immigrants (the parents of American citizens or permanent residents) to apply for work permits and stays of deportation. The order, known as DAPA, was long awaited by immigration activists and advocates, and came after years of political frustration in Congress.
But DAPA was never fully implemented, as a swift coalition of 26 states, led by the attorney general of Texas, filed a lawsuit that accused the president of abusing his executive powers. DAPA has been bogged down in the courts after the federal government appealed the injunction of Judge Andrew S. Hanen of Texas.
There is a great deal at stake in this case, not just for the millions of undocumented immigrants who could finally experience some relief in the final months of Obama’s term, but also for Obama’s legacy. As Simon Lazarus writes for the New Republic, “The ultimate fate of the administration’s program ... will turn on how the Court handles, as a precedent, its blockbuster decision last June, King v. Burwell, which effectively saved another signature Obama legacy initiative, the Affordable Care Act.”