On Monday, February 16, 2015, U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen, granted a temporary injunction halting the implementation of the expanded DACA and DAPA programs announced by President Obama last November. The lawsuit, brought by Gov. Greg Abbott on behalf of Texas and 25 other states, objects to the President's executive action that would provide work authorization and relief from removal to approximately 5 million undocumented immigrants.
The case was filed in Judge Hanen's court by the Plaintiffs because of his anti-immigrant views:
The judge, who was appointed by former President George W. Bush, wrote in 2013 that the Department of Homeland Security wasn’t enforcing immigration laws and instead “[breaking] them” by reuniting undocumented children with their parents instead of having the families deported or arrested, Bloomberg reported last year. [Texas Tribune]
The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) issued the following statement:
"Previous statements by Judge Hanen made it clear that he was pre-disposed against favorable exercises of prosecutorial discretion in the immigration context. Today he affirmed that pre-disposition by temporarily enjoining decision-making in the expansion of DACA and the implementation of DAPA.
"Thus, there is nothing surprising in the fact of the injunction. What is surprising, given this judge, is the narrowness of the ruling. His injunction is not based on constitutional grounds; it is based on procedure, finding flaws under the Administrative Procedure Act. It is almost as if he was desperate for a way to block these initiatives and grasped any straw he could.
The Obama administration is expected to immediately appeal this ruling and to request a stay of the injunction throughout the appeal process so that the initiatives aren't stalled. I am confident the federal government will ultimately prevail and that DAPA and expanded DACA will be fully implemented.
How does this affect you?
- Those who are eligible for expanded DACA will not be able to apply tomorrow as anticipated.
- Those who are eligible for DAPA may not be able to apply in May 2015 as anticipated.
- Those who have DACA already are not affected by this injunction and can apply to renew DACA.
- Those who qualify for DACA (born after 6/15/1981 and continuously present since 6/15/2007) can apply.
What should you do if you think you are eligible for expanded DACA or DAPA?
- Continue gathering documents proving you are eligible.
- Save the $465 filing fee.
- Seek good advice from an attorney or pro bono legal service provider approved by the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA).
- DO NOT seek advice or assistance from a NOTARIO. There will be Clinics and other help available for those who cannot afford an attorney. Baylor Law School and Catholic Charities are both planning DACA Clinics in Waco this spring.