Change in Immigration Policy, November 20th, 2014; 2015 Injuction and Motion for Stay

On November 20th, 2014, President Obama announced another change in immigration policy, to provide protection against deportation for many parents of U.S. Citizens and Lawful Permanent Residents. However, a District Court injunction in 2015 has put some of the President’s changes to immigration policy on hold for the time being. The original Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program remains in place. And the new Enforcement Priorities are being implemented currently. However, the new DACA program and the new Deferred Action for Parents of U.S. Citizens (DAPA) stand to help millions of immigrants, and many believe the hold on these new programs will be defeated in the courts.

The new DACA program proposed in the November 2014 Executive Action is a more generous program, allowing those who arrived while under age 16 to apply regardless of their age now — something that previously kept many immigrants from qualifying for DACA in recent years. With this executive action, many people who arrived in the U.S. without inspection, as children, could apply for this benefit who could not apply before, and many parents of U.S. Citizens who may not have other relief could, under this new program, now apply for deferred action. The U.S. Justice Department is working to stay the current injunction as of March of 2015.

Without action from Congress, President Obama has explained he has done all he can within the law to help our nation’s immigrants and their families. Many are thankful for the attempts at relief made by the President, yet the current District Court injunction reminds us that the need for comprehensive immigration reform is clear.

Whether Congress will go forward any time soon on making more sweeping changes to the immigration laws is an open question, but the recent action of the President and the States has dared Congress to do so.  Applications for the original DACA program are going forward, but the new programs for DACA and DAPA are on hold as the courts decide the fate of these aspects of the Executive Action.