In November 2014, President Barack Obama made a much anticipated announcement that he would provide immigration reform through numerous executive actions. Two of these actions were to expand the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals and Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent resident programs. By broadening the eligibility criteria for both of these programs, millions of immigrants would be able to apply for valid visas, leading them to be able to obtain work permits, social security numbers and drivers licenses.
The beginning of reform
In late January, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services announced it would begin accepting applications for the expanded DACA program Feb. 18., and anticipated it would be ready to accept applications under the broader DAPA program in May.“A federal court issued a temporary injunction.”
Legal woes for Obama’s plans
However, a lawsuit by numerous states has stayed the start of the president’s immigration reform. On Feb. 16, the United States District Court for the Southern Division of Texas issued a temporary injunction against the Department of Homeland Security implementing the new programs.
The states argued the president’s DAPA Memorandum violated the Administrative Procedures Act, and after showing that they are likely to succeed on the merits of their case, U.S. District Court Judge Andrew Hanen determined a preliminary injunction was appropriate as the matter proceeded through the courts.
Following the ruling, DHS Secretary Jeh. C. Johnson issued a statement saying he disagreed with Judge Hanen’s decision. Despite the disagreement, the DHS will not accept applications for the expanded programs under the order, but the U.S. Department of Justice will appeal the ruling. The appeal will be heard by a three-judge panel in the 5th Circuit, mostly likely in late summer or early fall.“Secretary Jeh. C. Johnson issued a statement saying he disagreed with Judge Hanen’s decision.”
Not all avenues stalled
Both Secretary Johnson and the USCIS have reminded immigrants that while the expanded programs are on hold, those who qualify under the original DAPA and DACA initiatives can still submit applications. Immigrants can also renew their current DACA status if it’s set to expire.
While what will happen in the courts is unknown, INSZoom can help immigration professionals with reminders, extensions and managing relationships with more prospective DAPA and DACA clients. If the programs are re-established, INSZoom’s immigration case management software will have workflows ready to ensure attorneys and human resources are able to submit their client’s applications the first day they’re allowed.