Will President Barack Obama be remembered as a “deporter in chief,” or as a president who took a bold stand on behalf of undocumented immigrants? Much of the answer to that question hinges on a single Supreme Court ruling expected to arrive this month.
For most of his tenure, Obama has deported undocumented immigrants at a ferocious pace. Fusion reports that since taking office in 2009, he’s overseen the deportation of over 2.5 million people — a 23% increase since George W. Bush’s presidency, and a statistic that makes him the most aggressive deporter in U.S. history.
But there are two major exceptions to Obama’s proclivity for expelling undocumented immigrants from the United States. The first was an executive action that he took in 2012 that established the program Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, which offered temporary protection to over 1 million young people who entered the country illegally as children.
The second exception came in the fall of 2014, when Obama announced new programs — also authorized through executive action — that expanded DACA and inaugurated the program Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents, or DAPA. DAPA offers deportation relief to undocumented immigrants who are parents of U.S. citizens or permanent residents and allows them to apply for work permits, assuming they meet a few conditions. Collectively, the programs shield over 4 million individuals from deportation.