On Monday February 16, 2015 Judge Andrew Hanen of the U.S. District Court in Brownsville, Texas issued a preliminary injunction temporarily preventing President Obama’s executive actions on immigration (expanded deferred action) from going forward. The injunction does not make Obama’s executive actions illegal, however it does prevent the Obama administration from implementing expanded DACA and DAPA until the courts determine the constitutionality of the executive actions announced by Obama on November 20, 2014. According to Judge Hanen, 26 states brought the suit to his attention, all of whom he determined had standing to sue. A lawsuit against President Obama is expected to move its way through the court system in the coming months. The injunction claims that the President lacks the constitutional power to make such executive actions. As a result of the injunction, USCIS will no longer accept applications for DACA on February 18th the date that USCIS initially announced it would begin to accept applications. Additionally, plans to accept requests for DAPA will be suspended until further notice.
The Secretary of Homeland Security, Jeh Johnson announced that while he disagreed with the injunction, that the Department of Homeland Security would be forced to comply. Nevertheless, the Department of Justice plans to appeal on behalf of the federal government.
Will the court order affect existing DACA?
The court order will only affect Obama’s executive actions for EXPANDED deferred action and DAPA. The court order will NOT affect existing DACA. Applicants for existing DACA can continue to apply for initial DACA or renewal of DACA pursuant to 2012 guidelines. The court order also does not apply to policies for apprehension, detention, and removal of undocumented immigrants per the Department of Homeland Security’s memorandum released on November 20, 2014, the day of President Obama’s execution action announcement available here. To read the complete injunction please click here. The White House Office of the Press Secretary also released a statement defending the administration’s actions available here. We will continue to keep you informed as further updates are available. For concerns and legal advice please contact our office.