On December 3, 2014, 17 states joined forces to file a complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas seeking to prohibit the implementation of the expanded Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) programs. On February 16, 2015, the day before the expanded DACA was to go into effect, the District Court Judge in Texas granted a preliminary injunction which has prevented the implementation of the expanded DACA and DAPA programs. The Department of Justice (DOJ) filed an expedited motion requesting that the District Court permit the programs to move forward pending final resolution of the lawsuit. While waiting for a decision from the District Court, the DOJ filed an emergency motion with the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals requesting that the 5th Circuit overrule the District Court’s decision, which would allow U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to proceed with the implementation of the programs. The District Court has denied the DOJ’s motion and the 5th Circuit has set the case for hearing on April 17, 2015.
To date, an unprecedented coalition of supporters has come forward in support of these programs. The coalition includes over 70 cities and counties including New York City and Los Angeles, over 100 immigration law professors, 15 states and the District of Columbia, 181 members of Congress and other immigration advocacy groups. Collectively, and alongside the DOJ, they are asking the 5th Circuit to reverse the District Court’s decision so that the expanded DACA/DAPA programs may be implemented. Whether the 5th Circuit will overturn the District Court’s decision remains to be seen; however, we are hopeful that the 5th Circuit’s decision will allow the expanded DACA/DAPA programs to proceed.
For more information on the expanded DACA/DAPA programs, please visit: http://www.uscis.gov/immigrationaction. Please also note that USCIS is continuing to accept initial DACA applications and renewal applications filed under the prior guidelines outlined in 2012, which can be found here: http://www.uscis.gov/humanitarian/consideration-deferred-action-childhood-arrivals-daca.
Please continue to check back for updates as the lawsuit continues to unfold.