Deferred action initiatives on hold

President Obama’s Deferred Action initiatives — a new initiative for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) and his expansion for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) — remain on hold due to a recent decision of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.

In November 2014, the president announced DAPA and an expansion of DACA via Executive Order to achieve his goal of providing temporary relief from deportation to as many as 5 million immigrants. For those who qualify and have the correct paperwork, this order could provide relief in a number of ways:

  • a temporary reprieve on deportation,
  • authorization of work permits, and
  • an opportunity to obtain Social Security numbers and drivers’ licenses.

Those in favor of the expansion of DACA and the implementation of DAPA believe it will provide important substantial economic benefit for the US as well as offering temporary relief to those millions who live under threat of deportation. The Council of Economic Advisors says the plan would improve the U.S. gross domestic product. On the other hand, the cost of deporting millions of immigrants — parents of U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents — would be astronomical. Many supporting organizations, including the U.S. Conference of Mayors and the National League of Cities, have written friend of the court briefs in support of the President’s plan. Critics of the plan call it “back door amnesty” and claim potentially large expenses to be borne by the States in providing drivers’ licenses to those who qualify.

In 2015, Texas and 25 other states filed suit in Texas federal court — Texas v. United States — and sought an injunction asking that the expansion of DACA be blocked temporarily, pending their lawsuit. Judge Andrew Hanen granted that request for a temporary injunction. The government countered with a request for an emergency stay of the injunction so that the initiatives could move forward while the lawsuit was pending. That request was denied. One of the judges on the three judge panel hearing the request dissented, citing the “political nature” of the decision on an issue which he felt should be decided by the federal executive branch and not by the court.

This latest decision, denying the federal government’s request for an emergency stay, is only a temporary setback for the President’s plan. Dozier Miller’s immigration experts continue to work with our clients so they will be fully prepared to take advantage of DAPA and the expansions of DACA when the case is decided and the programs move forward.

The Fifth circuit will hear arguments on the case in July. Polls show that the majority of Americans support the President’s order and approve of a plan which will provide a pathway to citizenship for those millions currently left in uncertain circumstances.

Contact Dozier Miller Law’s Immigration Counsel:

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