DOJ Petitions for New Supreme Court Hearing: DACA Plus and DAPA
The Department of Justice has filed a petition for a rehearing with the Supreme Court on the United States v. Texas case. This is the DACA/DAPA case that was decided with a 4-4 deadlock last month. That tie rendered the DACA plus and DAPA programs unable to go into effect. The decision left the ruling of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in effect. The Fifth Circuit had upheld the decision of the district court in Texas, in which the federal judge had ruled the programs could not go into effect. The reason was that the Obama Administration had not followed the procedures of the Administrative Procedure Act for promulgating and implementing rules with President Obama’s executive actions for DACA plus and DAPA programs.
The reason that there were eight Supreme Court justices ruling on the case instead of the traditional nine is because Justice Antonin Scalia died during the term and a replacement has not yet been voted on and approved by the Senate. The Department of Justice is petitioning for a nine member court to hear its case on behalf of DACA plus and DAPA. It states in its petition, “[t]his Court therefore should grant rehearing to provide for a decision by the Court when it has a full complement of Members, rather than allow a nonprecedential affirmance by an equally divided Court to leave in place a nationwide in-junction of such significance.”
The Gang of 8: Comprehensive Immigration Reform Re-Up
Immigration reform looked imminent in 2013. The 2012 elections demonstrated yet another discrepancy in the Latino electorate voting for Democrats, much like 2008. President Obama had issued executive orders to implement the DACA program in 2012 as a stop gap measure before comprehensive immigration reform emerged. Republicans were amenable to working with Democrats on comprehensive immigration reform, meaning a bill that covered business immigration, border enforcement, family immigration, and pathways to citizenship to certain individuals without status.
The driving force was the Gang of 8 – a bipartisan group of senators that pushed for immigration reform. They were partly successful. The Senate voted to pass a bill for comprehensive immigration reform. The House refused to pass the bill and comprehensive immigration reform has remained elusive since.
Immigration has become a hot topic once again over the past year, taking center stage in the presidential election. The Gang of 8 was heralded in 2013 as the cooler heads prevailing amongst the hotter temperaments. If the Gang of 8 is revived after the 2016 election, it will most likely have to resist a vitriolic and divided atmosphere. The status of DACA plus and DAPA and dormancy of comprehensive immigration reform show that immigration reform has been nonexistent since 2013. In the vacuum, states have passed their own immigration laws.
California Becomes First State to Allow Health Care Insurance Access for Undocumented Migrants
Governor Jerry Brown of California has signed SB10, which allows for some undocumented migrants in the state to have access to health care through the Affordable Care Act. The federal government does not allow for undocumented migrants to receive health care under the Affordable Care Act. California is the first state to pass and sign legislation of this sort. The law would work by having the state negotiate a waiver with the federal government, so that individuals can purchase insurance on the state’s exchange. The point is to expand health insurance coverage and also to lower premiums for everyone.
California is the most populous state in the Union. 7% of its population is constituted of undocumented migrants (approximately 2.6 million – which is also over 20% of all undocumented migrants in the United States). California is the sole state to offer this kind of health insurance access. States are vastly different in various issues that affect their undocumented residents – in state tuition, drivers licenses, insurance.
Undocumented Valedictorian Part II:
Valedictorian Reveals Status in Tweet
Mayte Lara Ibarra did not reveal her undocumented immigrant status in her valedictorian speech to her Texas high school. However, she sent a Tweet that announced herself as undocumented. Her Tweet celebrated her academic success: GPA, APs, honorariums, and full scholarship to the University of Texas (and a mention of her physical beauty).
She has received a social media avalanche – an outpouring of support and congratulations and vitriol and hatred. The University of Texas does not discriminate by resident status, so her academic scholarship remains in tack.
The Supreme Court is expected to decide the DACA/DAPA case (U.S. v. Texas) by the end of the month. Its ruling will have ramifications for millions of undocumented individuals in the United States.
TX Valedictorian Reveals Undocumented Status During Speech
Larissa Martinez graduated from her Texas high school with a 4.95 GPA, 17 AP classes, and is receiving a full scholarship to Yale. During her valedictorian speech, she revealed that she is an undocumented immigrant. Her mother escaped with Larissa and her sister to the United States to escape her abusive alcoholic father. You can watch her speech here.
“I am one of the 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the shadows of the United States,” said Larissa Martinez, the valedictorian at McKinney Boyd High School in McKinney, Texas during her June 3rd address to the 2016 graduating class. “I decided to stand before you today and reveal these unexpected realities, because this might be my only chance to convey the truth to all of you that undocumented immigrants are people too.”
The Supreme Court is expected to decide the DAPA/DACA case (U.S. v. Texas) by the end of the month. Its ruling will have serious ramifications for millions of undocumented individuals in the United States.