Expanded DACA and DAPA Delayed
There is bad news for those looking for immigration reform. On Monday, February 16, 2015, a Federal Judge in Houston Texas granted a request by 26 States for a preliminary injunction to halt the President’s November 2014 Executive Order on Immigration. What does that mean?
Expanded DACA & DAPA On Hold
It means that until the Federal Court in Texas can actually have a trial and decide whether or not President Obama has the authority to issue Immigration Reform through Executive Action, the Federal Government is restricted from doing anything under the Expanded Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals immigration relief (commonly referred to as DACA) and Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (commonly referred to as DAPA) programs. In short, Expanded DACA and DAPA applications cannot be filed at the moment.
So what happens now to all those hoping to apply for the new DACA and DAPA programs? We wait.
The Department of Justice, the attorneys representing the Federal Government, is expected to appeal the decision of the Federal Court to grant the injunction. In its request for appeal, the Government is likely ask that the injunction be lifted until a final decision on the whole case can be made.
What does this mean? It means, that if the Government’s request on appeal is granted, the Government can once again accept applications under the Expanded DACA and continue with its roll out of DAPA. Unfortunately, even though the Court of Appeals will try and rush to review this decision because of the Government’s originally scheduled February 18, 2015 roll out date of Expanded DACA, the Court of Appeals’ decision could still take weeks or even months.
WARNING– Many notaries, accountants, tax preparers and other non-lawyers are trying to convince immigrants to pay fees for Expanded DACA and DACA legal services. Only a licensed lawyer experienced in immigration law can lawfully provide legal services. Don’t be fooled by non-lawyers. And don’t pay for legal services that a non-lawyer cannot deliver.
Will Reform Come Later?
There are many opinions as to whether or not the Federal Court in Texas will ultimately determine that President Obama’s actions were unconstitutional. Similar court cases against the Executive Action establishing the original DACA program were unsuccessful, so it is generally believed by immigration advocates that this case will also result in the same decision.
For the thousands of illegal immigrants hoping to receive deferred action under the President’s Executive Order, only time will tell. We must now wait for a decision from the Appeals Court on the injunction. If the injunction is lifted by the Appeals Court in the next few weeks, then the Government will be able to continuing implementing the expanded DACA and DAPA programs, while the case goes to trial. If however, the injunction is not lifted, then we wait for the trial process to finish and a final decision to be made before any further action is taken. A trial that could take years to complete.
For now, the February 18, 2015 application date for Expanded DACA is on hold and the late spring release date for DAPA is unknown.
Fortunately, the recent court decision does not affect the original DACA program. Anyone meeting the requirements for the original DACA program are still able to apply. If however, you were not eligible because you have not been in the U.S. since June 15, 2007 and you were not under 31 as of June 15, 2012, you are not eligible to apply at this time.
Your Case, Our Priority
If you or someone you know has recently come to the United States and needs advice about your immigration case, please contact Griffith Law Group for a free consultation. Our phone number is (317) 236-0486, or visit us at 5150 Pike Plaza Rd., Indianapolis, IN 46224 or at www.indyimmigrationlaw.com.
Stay tuned next month when we discuss what other forms of immigration relief might be available to you or loved ones.