Although the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) was supposed to begin accepting applications on Wednesday, Feb. 18, under President Obama’s newly expanded Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, a federal judge in Texas has temporarily blocked the President’s initiative. U.S. District Judge Andrew S. Hanen ruled late Monday that the program should not move forward while a lawsuit filed by 26 states challenging it was being decided.
Judge Hansen’s decision has also temporarily enjoined implementation of Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA).
DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson has stated that the Department of Justice will appeal the temporary injunction and President Obama says that he is “confident that it is well within [his] authority” to execute the new policy. The fight is now likely to head to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit.
DHS has also emphasized that in regards to DACA, the District Court’s order affects only the expansion of the program. It does not affect the existing DACA program. Individuals may continue to request an initial grant of DACA or renewal of DACA in accordance with the program established in 2012.
The order also does not affet DHS’ ability to set and implement enforcement priorities.
If you have questions about your current DACA status, renewal of your status, or applications affected by the recent court ruling, please contact our office.