Six months ago, President Barack Obama announced several actions to improve America’s immigration system, including a program dubbed Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents, or DAPA. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, or USCIS, were scheduled to begin the implementation of DAPA today. This program would provide temporary relief from deportation and work authorization on a case-by-case basis to parents of U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents who have been in the country for at least five years. The president also increased the age limit to qualify for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA—a program that protects undocumented individuals who entered the country at a young age, known as DREAMERs.
Implementing DAPA is not only the right thing to do for families and the economy—it also has key electoral implications. Reflective of the overall immigrant population, potential DAPA recipients are largely Latino and Asian immigrants along with a smaller but growing African immigrant population. Opponents of DAPA will likely alienate a critical and growing voting demographic within the United States while champions of the program are likely to engender significant support from these same voters.
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