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What is happening with DACA/DAPA?

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On November 20, 2014 President Barack Obama announced a series of executive actions on immigration designed to repair our country’s broken immigration system.

Among its provisions, the executive actions on immigration outline plans to: strengthen border security, expand I-601A provisional waiver eligibility, modernize visa backlogs, expand eligibility for parole in place, improve parole procedures for researchers, inventors, and foreign entrepreneurs, revise removal proceedings–making criminals and those who pose a threat to our nation’s national security a priority for deportation, expand the existing DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) program to include a broader population of undocumented aliens (with no prior criminal history) who have continuously resided in the United States since January 1, 2010.  The expanded DACA program, under the new policy, would last a period of 3 years, rather than the 2 year period, granted under initial DACA.

In addition to expanding DACA, Obama also proposed a new program known as DAPA (Deferred Action for Parents of U.S. Citizens and Lawful Permanent Residents) extending eligibility of deferred action to eligible parents of US Citizen or LPR children born on or before the date of the President’s announcement on November 20, 2014. To read the complete DAPA eligibility requirements please click here.

These provisions were scheduled to go into effect on February 18th of this year, however, on February 15th a temporary injunction filed by Judge Hanen along with 26 states put these initiatives on hold. Following the filing of the temporary injunction, the Department of Justice filed an appeal in defense of Obama’s executive actions and an emergency motion for stayrequesting the executive actions to go forward despite the temporary injunction.

On May 26th the fifth circuit court of appeals returned a decision denying the emergency motion filed by the federal government. With its ruling, the fifth circuit court of appeals leaves the temporary injunction in place until a final decision is reached regarding the appeal of the injunction. The fifth circuit court of appeals ruled that at least 1 state had standing to sue and that the appeal of the injunction would be heard. Oral arguments for the appeal are scheduled to begin on July 6, 2015. The federal government now has two options to lift the injunction 1) to request what is known as an en banc hearing before all of the appeals court judges or 2) to file a writ of certiorari with the Supreme Court. It could be months until a final decision is made at the appellate level and it is not certain whether the Supreme Court will accept the writ of certiorari to lift the injunction.

It must be noted that the existing DACA program is still in place and applications are being accepted. It is ONLY the expanded DACA and DAPA program that are held by federal court order.

This is the most up to date information regarding Obama’s executive orders. For legal advice please contact our office. For further updates please continue to check our blog.