TEXAS COURT BLOCKS PRESIDENT’S EXECUTIVE ACTION ON IMMIGRATION:  WHAT DOES THAT MEAN FOR IMMIGRANTS?

Twenty-six states filed suit trying to stop President Obama’s deferred action programs.  On February 15, 2015, a federal court judge in Texas issued an order blocking the President’s executive action programs that granted protection from deportation to certain parents of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents (known as DAPA) and expanded the 2012 DACA program.  The federal government has appealed the Texas court’s decision.  The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit issued an order on March 24, 2015, granting in part the government’s request for an “expedited” appeal.  A hearing is set for April 17, 2015 in New Orleans on the appeal.

Expanded DACA allows undocumented individuals of any current age who entered the United States before the age of 16 and lived in the United States continuously since January 1, 2010 to apply for expanded DACA. (You must be at least 15 years old to apply for expanded DACA). 

You can find more information on the November 20, 2014, executive actions on immigration, including DAPA and the expanded Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program here.

What is the impact of the Texas federal court order?
The Texas court order only blocks the new DAPA and the expanded DACA programs.   The DAPA program was scheduled begin in mid-May of 2015 and expanded DACA applications were scheduled to begin to be accepted on February 18, 2015.  The DAPA and expanded DACA programs will not be implemented until a final decision is reached in the Texas lawsuit.    

What does the Texas federal court order mean for immigrants?

  1. The Texas order only blocks the DAPA and expanded DACA programs.  This means that the 2012 DACA program is still available to first-time applicants who meet DACA’s eligibility requirements (if they did not apply when the program was first implemented in 2012) and is still available for DACA recipients applying to renew their deferred action and work authorization.  For more information about eligibility for DACA visit the USCIS website here.  
  2. The Texas order does not block any of the other changes that were the result of the President’s November 20, 2014 announcement on executive action on immigration.  This includes the creation of the Interagency Working Group to protect workers from unlawful retaliation based on immigration status. 
  3. The Texas order is a temporary roadblock.  Do not be afraid!
  4. While the lawsuit works its way in the court system, immigrants and workers can still continue to prepare to apply for deferred action.  Get screened for eligibility and gather documents needed to demonstrate relationship to a qualifying child and continuous residence in the U.S. since January 1, 2010.
  5. Workers should also continue to beware of fraud.  Should workers need legal advice concerning DACA eligibility, consult a lawyer or BIA accredited representative.

Stay tuned for more updates!

By Monica Guizar | March 27, 2015

Legal Developments