Newark, NJ- Immigrants who were planning on applying for deportation relief under the President Obama’s executive actions will be forced to wait. On Monday, Feb. 16, a federal judge in Texas issued a temporary injunction, blocking the President’s immigration actions, announced in November, from going into effect.
U.S. District Court Judge Andrew S. Hanen issued the temporary injunction, stating that President Obama failed to follow proper procedures, outlined by the Administrative Procedure Act, by not allowing the public time to comment on the new policies. Judge Hanen did not comment on the constitutionality of the executive actions.
Judge Hanen also ruled that Texas and 25 other states, which filed a lawsuit against President Obama’s immigration actions last fall, were able to prove they would suffer injury if those actions were allowed to be implemented.
That injunction will prohibit the Department of Homeland Security from accepting any applications for two key programs. One is an expansion of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), which would have removed the age cap, giving immigrants aged 31 and older the opportunity to apply for work permits and residency if they were brought to the U.S. as children. The Department of Homeland Security was going to begin accepting applications for this program on February 18th.
The injunction will not, however, affect the original DACA program implemented in 2012 and immigrants are allowed to apply for deportation relief or an extension under this program.
The second program affected by the injunction is Deferred Action for Parental Accountability (“DAPA”), which is for parents of U.S. citizens and Lawful Permanent Residents. Under this program, undocumented parents of U.S. citizens or green-card holders are allowed to apply for a work permit. The Department of Homeland Security was slated to begin accepting applications for this program in May of this year.
Both programs would allow immigrants to avoid deportation and legally work in the U.S. for three years.
Thousands of immigrants who have family ties are not the only beneficiaries of these programs; it is likely these two programs would be an economic benefit as a whole since it would add millions in tax revenue, allow uninsured drivers to get insurance, and have other economic benefits.
The Obama administration plans to appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit and is confident that the injunction will lifted. Before announcing his immigration actions, President Obama worked with legal advisers and Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson to ensure the policies were well within his executive powers.
Immigration attorneys and experts are also confident that the injunction will be lifted and the President’s executive actions will be allowed to go into effect.
While the case is still being decided, the Department of Homeland Security is getting prepared for an influx of applications when the injunction is lifted. In the meantime, immigrants are encouraged to gather their documents and begin working on their applications so they are prepared to apply when the injunction is lifted.
If you were planning on applying for the expanded DACA program or DAPA, don’t give up hope. If you have any questions about these programs or other deportation relief, you can contact me at my New Jersey office to set up a consultation. Immigration is an important part of my practice and I am dedicated to seeing my clients succeed in any immigration endeavor they embark on. Whether you want to apply for a visa or work permit or need a deportation defense, my experience and record of success will benefit you and your case.