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Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism University of Southern California

DAPA: One Year Later

DAPA has been around for a year, but many say it hasn't helped anyone yet.

Click here to hear the ARN piece.

One year ago today President Obama announced that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) would not deport certain undocumented parents of U.S. citizens who are permanent residents. This measure was known as the Deferred Action for Parental Accountability, or DAPA.

Immigrant rights organizer Isais Vasquez says that even though DAPA has been around for a year, it has not helped anyone.

“Since it has been appealed in the court, no one has been able to benefit from it until it goes to the Supreme Court for an implementation process to be created so that people can apply,” says Vasquez. 

President Obama’s plan was immediately challenged by 26 states after its release. The states, led by Texas, filed injunctions against Obama’s 2014 Executive Action on Immigration bill after its release. In February of this year, U.S. Federal Judge Andrew Hanen granted several states a preliminary injunction against DAPA. 

While Vasquez is in charge of an equality group in Colorado, he said that the majority of activist groups fighting to appeal the injunctions are stationed in Texas. United We Dream, the largest immigrant youth-led organization in the nation has several affiliate offices throughout the state.

Earlyn Castorena, one of the head organizers stationed at Beaumont, Tex. says over half of the population of Texas are undocumented immigrants. “It’s really sad that our representatives are trying to oppress the community,” she said.

Even Mayor Steve Adler of Austin wants the deportation of undocumented immigrants lawsuit dropped in Texas, according to his communications director, Jason Stanford. 

“The mayor of Austin feels that it is good to keep families together, and that these people are coming here to work, and he believes that they are Americans by choice,” Stanford said. 

He said that a majority of Texans, despite being a red state, would agree with Mayor Adler. 

“I wouldn’t trust a popular vote to accurately reflect what Texans think about this because Texas has among one of the worst voter involvement in the country,” Stanford said.

Based on the U.S. Census Bureau voter surveys every even-numbered year, Texas ranked 48th in turnout in 2012, 47th in 2008 and 49th in 2006.

As it stands a year from the birth of DAPA, the only thing standing in-between undocumented immigrants and protection in the future is who will win the presidential election. Whether the new president is for the deportation of illegal citizens, or for the protection of all undocumented workers, whoever wins will be the determining factor for those qualified for DAPA.

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