DAPA and DACA Update: Immigration Relief for Millions of Individuals Remains on Hold as U.S Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit Upholds Injunction against DAPA and DACA

Immigration Law Updates
Wednesday, November 11, 2015 - 11:15am

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit has upheld a lower federal court’s injunction that blocks the Administration from implementing executive actions announced by President Obama on November 20, 2014 to benefit certain undocumented parents of U.S. citizen and lawful permanent resident sons and daughters. This is another blow to the Administration’s efforts to provide some form of relief to several million undocumented individuals in the United States and will likely result in a decision by the United States Supreme Court.

The 2-1 ruling from a panel of judges on the Court of Appeals was not unexpected. It comes several months after the same court denied a request from the Department of Justice for an emergency stay of the lower court’s injunction against implementation of the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) and an expansion of the existing Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).

If allowed to go into effect, DAPA would have permitted certain undocumented parents of U.S. citizen and lawful permanent resident sons and daughters to seek work permission and protection from deportation providing that they have been in the United States since January 1, 2010. An estimated 4.1 million people should have qualified for this program. The executive action also called for the expansion of DACA to qualifying applicants regardless of their age at the time of application. The prior version limited the application to persons who were 31 years old or younger on June 15, 2012. Approximately 300,000 people would have benefited from this proposed change.

The lawsuit prevents millions of individuals who have been members of communities across the United States from coming out of the shadows and working on the books to contribute to our economy and to live without fear with their families and in their communities. There are approximately 11 million undocumented individuals living in the United States, many with U.S. citizen spouses and children. Immigration advocates are calling on the Administration to quickly appeal the decision and remain optimistic that the Supreme Court will issue a favorable decision by June 2016 so that the programs can be implemented.