The Department of Homeland Security on Thursday rescinded an Obama-era immigration policy that had allowed for deferred action for parents of Americans and lawful permanent residents, which was known as DAPA.
DHS Secretary John Kelly signed a memo on Thursday directing his employees not to carry out an instruction his predecessor, Jeh Johnson, had put in writing in November 2014 that sought to extend a 2012 program aimed at the illegal immigrant community.
Kelly made the decision to revoke the policy because "there is no credible path forward to litigate the currently enjoined policy" due to its current entanglement in the courts, his office said in a statement.
The 2014 Johnson memos had been intended as extensions of Obama's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, the 2012 policy that permitted illegal immigrants who entered the U.S. as minors to receive a two-year period of deferred action and work permit. DACA permits would last two years and could be renewed if the individual remained in good legal standing. The program also allowed recipients to become eligible for state-managed public benefits.
Under DAPA, recipients would have had to be a parent of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident as of Nov. 20, 2014; have continuously resided in the U.S. before Jan. 1, 2010; have been physically present in the U.S. on Nov. 20, 2014 and when applying for relief; have no lawful immigration status on that date; have not fallen within the secretary's enforcement priorities; and have presented no other factors that, in the exercise of discretion, make the grant of deferred action inappropriate.
A 2015 report by the Migration Policy Institute estimated 3.6 million illegal immigrant parents would have been eligible for DAPA.
But DAPA was never implemented.
In early 2015, 26 states responded to the months-old announcement with a lawsuit against the Obama administration in the U.S. District Court of the Southern District of Texas. The states alleged the program violated the Constitution and federal statutes. The majority of the states that took legal action identified as red states.
The program was put on hold for the next two years as it wound its way through the courts. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit affirmed the district court's decision, and the Supreme Court ultimately granted the lower court's injunction to remain in place.
The now-defunct DAPA policy also would have changed the DACA program's two-year extension to three-year terms.
President Trump's hardline stance on immigration has remained resolute, but wavered at times since he took office nearly five months ago. Trump admitted he wanted to show compassion to people in the U.S. illegally, but has been adamant about eradicating all future illegal immigration by enforcing all immigration laws and creating a secure wall on the U.S.-Mexico border.
The White House has not issued a statement on the newly announced DHS decision.