U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen issued an injunction blocking President Obama’s executive actions on immigration reform on February 16, 2015.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) was set to accept applications for the expanded Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program from February 18, 2015. This court ruling will now stop the USCIS from accepting applications for expanded DACA. However, immigrants eligible for the DACA program that is already in place, can continue to file their applications. USCIS will accept applications for initial DACA and applications for renewal of DACA.
Hanen’s ruling has temporarily blocked the immigration rule, that would shield around 5 million undocumented adults and youth from deportation, announced by the President in November 2014. The DACA program will not be expanded and the DAPA program will not be implemented until the Texas court ruling is overruled.
Hanen’s ruling says that President Obama has failed to comply with the Administrative Procedure Act. However, the Justice Department has stated that it will appeal his decision. The White House claims that the President has the authority to implement such programs. It also says that the ruling is preventing the administration from implementing lawful and common sense immigration policies. President Obama also believes that the ruling against his order will be overruled.
Jeh Johnson, Secretary of Homeland Security, in a statement said that he strongly disagrees with Hanen’s decision. He said that the expanded DACA program will not be implemented as it was previously scheduled, on February 18, 2015. At the same time, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will continue to work on the new programs announced by the President and will be prepared to implement the programs once the legal issues are resolved.
If you are an immigrant waiting to apply for expanded DACA or DAPA, you need not lose hope as the Obama administration is confident that the court ruling will be overruled and that the programs will be implemented very soon. Meanwhile, you can prepare your documents and save the application filing fee or $465 so that you can file a timely DACA or DAPA application once the programs are implemented.