New DACA and DAPA Update as of March 2015

In February 2015, a federal district court in Texas granted a preliminary injunction temporarily blocking the implementation of DAPA and the expansion of DACA in a lawsuit brought by 26 states. (State of Texas, et al v. U.S.A, 2/16/15). On March 12th, 2015, the U.S. Justice Department filed an emergency motion for stay pending appeal, in Texas v. United States, requesting that the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals stay the district court’s nationwide preliminary injunction in its entirety or, at minimum, stay it with respect to implementation in states other than Texas, or states that are not parties to the suit.

However, individuals who are potentially eligible for expanded DACA or DAPA can begin preparing to apply by gathering the necessary documentation and seeking good counsel to put themselves in the best position possible while the case is appealed and works its way through the courts. In the meantime, people should be wary of ‘notarios’ who offer legal advice without a license that is unethical and fraudulent.

It is important to consider that lawsuits against other similar executive actions on immigration have failed in the past – for example in December a lawsuit in which Sheriff Arpaio argued President Obama;s announcements were unconstitutional, the lawsuit was thrown out. And when the state of Mississippi challenged the legality of DACA in another lawsuit brought by 26 states in 2012, the case was dismissed.

The view held by many immigration advocates is that the DACA and DAPA programs will be upheld in the courts. So even though the programs are put on hold right now, and the appeal process may take months or more, studies have shown that deferred action programs are not only the right thing to do morally, but also that these programs are economically beneficial to our communities, our states and our country as a whole. With this in mind, watching the developments in the appeals process, and gathering documents and good counsel on past criminal records, for example, can be beneficial actions for those who would like to do something while we wait for the courts decide.