February 25, 2016

Supreme Court and DAPA/DACA Consideration

Later this spring, the Supreme Court will be taking up U.S. v. Texas, and the court’s decision in this case will determine whether the Obama Administration’s expanded deferred action program, Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (DAPA),  is allowed to proceed or not. A number of groups across the country and in California are preparing to file amicus (“friend of the court”) briefs urging the court to allow the DAPA program to proceed.

Western Growers has advocated tirelessly both for legal status to be granted to the existing workforce in agriculture and a new more workable and market-oriented agriculture guestworker program, and while the failure of Congress has led the White House to take limited action, it does not solve the underlying problems in our immigration system.

The administration’s actions, if granted, may provide temporary legal status to a portion of the workforce in agriculture, but can also be revoked in the future and send those workers immediately into deportation proceedings. The number of individuals that could receive or would even come forward to apply for this temporary status is very difficult to estimate.

Additionally, unlike immigration reform legislation these actions provide no unique incentives for agricultural employees to remain in agriculture. Furthermore, these administrative actions leave the current agriculture visa system untouched, in spite of the fact that regulatory reform and relief under the H-2A program is well within the authority of the executive branch. So, we have no confidence that these actions would do anything to ease the growing labor shortages farmers have been facing for several years or move towards finally fixing our broken immigration system.

Because of the uncertain impacts of these measures on agricultural employers and workers, Western Growers and a number of agricultural groups are not filing amicus briefs supporting the administration’s actions in the court case.   

For more information, contact Ken Barbic at (202) 296-0191.