There is more activity this week in the litigation over President Obama’s executive action deferring deportation for over 5 million undocumented immigrants. Oral arguments in Texas v. US are scheduled to take place before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit in New Orleans on July 10. While the appeal has been pending, the administration been unable to implement the new Deferred Action for Parental Accountability (DAPA) program and expansion of the existing Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program that was announced on November 20, 2014.
The lawsuit was brought by 26 states seeking to stop implementation. On February 16, 2015, the federal district court in Texas issued a temporary injunction blocking the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) from accepting applications for the 2 programs while the case was still pending in the courts. The administration asked the 5th Circuit to issue an emergency stay of the injunction allowing the USCIS to begin taking applications for the programs. On May 26th, a 3 judge panel of the 5th Circuit denied the emergency stay stating that the government was unlikely to succeed on the merits of the case. The administration decided not to appeal the denial of the emergency stay. Instead on July 10th, it will again seek to have the injunction lifted.
Unfortunately, the administration will be arguing before some of the same judges that denied their last appeal so another unfavorable decision is likely. Regardless of which party wins the appeal, additional appeals to the Supreme Court may also occur further delaying implementation. However, the administration and numerous immigrant groups are confident that the programs will be upheld.
In the meantime, the original 2012 DACA program remains in effect. Individuals should begin gathering the necessary documentation so they are prepared when applications for the 2014 programs start to be accepted. If the injunction is lifted at some point, applications for DAPA and DACA will proceed even while the parties continue to debate the legality of the President’s executive actions.
For more information on the DAPA and DACA litigation, see our prior post here.