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Federal Judge Issues Temporary Halt to Implementation of DACA Expansion and DAPA

On February 16, 2015, a federal judge in Texas issued a preliminary injunction that temporarily halts the implementation of the expansion of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans & Residents (DAPA) programs. The expansion of DACA and the DAPA programs were announced as a part of President Obama’s Executive Immigration Action plan on November 20, 2014.

Effect of the Temporary Injunction on the DACA Expansion

Prior to the federal judge’s issuance of the preliminary injunction, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) was scheduled to begin accepting application under the expanded DACA program on February 18, 2015. With the issuance of the preliminary injunction, DHS has announced that although it strongly disagrees with the Judge’s decision, it must abide by the Judge’s order. Therefore, DHS will not begin accepting applications under the expanded DACA program on February 18, 2015 as previously announced.

Importantly, the existing DACA program, which began in August of 2012, is not affected by the Judge’s order. The DHS will continue to accept and adjudicate applications for the existing DACA program.

Effect of the Temporary Injunction on DAPA

Prior to the Texas Judge’s order, it was widely believed that DHS would begin accepting applications for DAPA in May of 2015. In light of the Judge’s order, DHS has also announced that any plans to accept DAPA applications are being suspended at this time. When the temporary injunction is lifted, it is expected that DHS will move forward with the DAPA program at that time.

What is this lawsuit about?

The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas, which sits within the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, is currently hearing the case State of Texas, et al. v. United States, et al.

In this suit, Texas and twenty-five other states have sued the federal government, claiming that the Obama Administration’s actions on immigration violate the U.S. Constitution and a federal law known as the Administrative Procedure Act (APA). The states also claim that they will be injured if the Administration’s actions are allowed to take effect.

The preliminary injunction issued on February 16, 2015 in Texas v. United States is not a decision on the merits of the case itself. Rather, the order is a temporary measure that prevents the programs from going into effect while the case is being argued and decided.

Most legal experts that have reviewed the President’s executive immigration actions, including the DACA expansion and DAPA, believe the programs are lawful, constitutional and consistent with the APA. In this regard, while the injunction is a temporary halt to the implementation of the DACA expansion and DAPA programs, we believe the injunction will be lifted and the programs will be implemented in the future.

The U.S. Department of Justice has indicated that it will immediately appeal the judge’s order for a preliminary injunction.

If the U.S. Department of Justice wins that appeal, then the DAPA program and the DACA expansion may be permitted to go in to effect while the case continues to be heard by the U.S. Federal District Court.

If you are unsure about whether you qualify for DAPA, the expanded DACA, or whether your case is affected by this temporary injunction, it is strongly advised that you consult with an experience immigration attorney.

Please contact Kolko & Associates, P.C. at (303) 371-1822 to set up a consultation with one of our licensed and experienced attorneys to review your case.

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Kolko & Casey, P.C. is a full service immigration and naturalization law firm providing professional legal services to individuals and businesses throughout Colorado, the Rocky Mountain West, the United States, and the World. Our professional staff speaks English, Spanish, Korean, and Portuguese and we can arrange for translators in any other language.