May 26, 2015 Executive Action Update
President Obama’s 2014 executive order advancing immigration reform was delayed earlier this year after a federal judge temporarily blocked implementation of DAPA and expanded DACA programs. The federal government appealed that ruling, and we are now awaiting a decision, hopefully in July, from a higher court.
We still expect a positive outcome and encourage those eligible for DAPA and expanded DACA to begin gathering documentation necessary to apply for those programs. Please contact us for more details, and read more about the current status of executive action below.
History of President Obama’s Executive Order
On November 20, 2014 President Obama announced an executive order expanding DACA and creating a new program for undocumented parents of U.S. citizens and green card holders, Deferred Action for Parental Accountability, also known as DAPA. Please visit our Special Website for detailed information regarding how these programs will help millions of undocumented families stay and work in the U.S.
Shortly after the President’s announcement, 17 states filed a federal lawsuit in Texas seeking to stop implementation of the executive order. Those states argued that the executive action was unconstitutional, amounted to the federal government’s refusal to enforce the immigration laws, and would result in an unwelcome financial burden on all states. The judge in the case issued a temporary injunction, halting nationwide implementation of the executive action until he ultimately decides the case.
A week later, the U.S. Justice Department, representing the federal government, filed an emergency motion asking the judge to stay (i.e. not move forward with) the injunction while the case proceeded. After almost three weeks without a decision on their motion, the Justice Department on March 12, 2015 asked the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals to stay the lower court’s nationwide injunction while they appealed. The Justice Department asked the 5th Circuit to stay the injunction in its entirety or, at a minimum, stay it with respect to states other than Texas or states that had not joined Texas in the lawsuit.
Fourteen states, the District of Columbia, the mayors of New York and Los Angeles, 71 additional cities and counties, a number of civil rights organizations, 109 law professors, and 181 members of Congress filed friend of the court arguments urging the 5th Circuit to grant the federal government’s request and allow the executive action provisions to move forward.
On May 26, 2015, the 5th Circuit, in a 2-1 decision, refused to immediately lift the temporary injunction against the presidential order. The 5th Circuit will now hear arguments from the parties in the first week of July on the merits of the injunction itself. Until then, the three new programs – DAPA, Expanded DACA and Expanded Provisional Waiver – are on hold awaiting the 5th Circuit’s ruling.
What You Can Do While the Lawsuit is Pending
We at Antonini and Cohen urge all those who might be eligible for DAPA or expanded DACA to begin gathering documentation to prove their eligibility. This includes collecting proof of residency since January 1, 2010 as well as physical presence in the U.S. on November 20, 2014. Such proof includes, but is not limited to:
- Bank statements
- Tax returns
- Rent receipts
- Proof of mortgage payments
- Medical Records
- Any other receipt, filing or document indicating presence in the U.S.
For DAPA, proof of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident son or daughter born prior to November 20, 2014 will be required.
Make Your Voice Heard!
Although no one can accurately predict the future, immigration lawyers, advocates, law professors and legal scholars believe that the President’s executive action is constitutional and no different from executive actions taken by every President over the past 60 years. Further, the legal arguments against executive action are simply wrong. While the Texas lawsuit has caused a delay, it means nothing more than that. We have faith in our country’s judicial system, and we expect a positive outcome that will provide relief to those who desperately need DAPA and expanded DACA.
Voice your opinion in support of the President’s action by using your social media tools and by contacting your Congressmen. You can make a difference!