After President Obama announced an executive action on November 20th, 2014, a new memo details relief for  parents of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents who have been continuously present since January 1st, 2010. As of March 2015, even though relief for such parents has been put on hold, the U.S. Department of Justice has requested a stay of the District Court injunction causing this hold. If the new DAPA program is upheld in the courts, each applicant will have to pass background checks, determine whether any past violations will prevent or allow relief, as well as pay taxes, and if applicants qualify, they will be given deferred action for a 3-year period. Although disappointment has been felt with the 2015 District Court injunction, DAPA is not “over” — it is on hold and being decided by the courts.

The President’s move elated many immigrants, who could, with the new DAPA and new DACA programs, come out of the shadows and apply for work authorization and protection from removal. Now that these programs are on hold, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services will not release forms as first expected. However, the original program for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) remains available and the new program is on hold. The requirements for the new DACA program, should it survive, would eliminate the age cap for applicants, as well as changing the continuous presence requirement to start at January 1st, 2010.

Another important part of the 2014 executive action which is in effect and not affected by the 2015 injunction, is a new memo which details new enforcement priorities and is operational currently.  Suspected terrorists, convicted felons, convicted gang members, and people apprehended on the border, people convicted of serious or multiple misdemeanors, and very recent entrants are named as such priorities — recent entrants include those who entered after January 1st of 2014. These new enforcement priorities are changing the landscape of immigration relief for many parents of U.S. Citizens who would otherwise apply for DAPA if it were available — instead prosecutorial discretion is available in some cases in immigration proceedings. In this way, the executive actions have already begun helping some individuals and families, and the hope is that in coming months the new DACA and DAPA programs will be back.