Update on DAPA/DACA: Litigation Stalled in Appeals Court

Implementation of President Obama’s 2014 executive action on immigration remains on the back burner as the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans hears arguments over the legality of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (DAPA).

Created through executive action by Mr. Obama in November 2014, DACA and DAPA would allow roughly 5 million eligible undocumented immigrants to temporarily avoid deportation under certain circumstances. Obama’s plan would expand DACA, which allows people younger than 30 who were brought to the United States by non-citizen parents to remain in the U.S. to continue their education or obtain legal work permits. It would also, through the newly-created DAPA, allow undocumented immigrant parents of US citizen or LPR children to defer deportation and obtain employment authorization in three-year, renewable increments.

But both DACA and DAPA are being legally challenged by a coalition of states that believes the President overstepped his presidential authority in issuing the executive orders that created the deferred action programs. Then-Texas Governor (and now Texas governor) Greg Abbott filed a lawsuit on behalf of 26 states to block Obama’s immigration actions, and a Texas judge in February issued an injunction that for the moment prevents DACA and DAPA from being implemented.

The case has since progressed to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans, and on July 20, 2015, those in favor of and those opposing DACA/DAPA made arguments before the court. A ruling from the Republican-leaning Fifth Circuit is not likely to come for several more months. Regardless of the outcome, it is all but a foregone conclusion that the losing side will appeal the case to U.S. Supreme Court.

While DACA/DAPA opponents focus on the legality of the programs, immigrant-rights supporters see the executive orders as being about families and upholding American values.

National Immigration Law Center (NILC) staff attorney Alvaro Huerta told Latin Post that, “We’re talking about a number of low-income immigrants who otherwise aren’t able to provide for their families, and so we know a lot of folks are being forced to work ‘under the table,’ and so [DACA and DAPA] allows them to come out and work lawfully and provide for their families,”

McConnell: 114th Congress Won’t Address Immigration Reform

Echoing the sentiments previously expressed by House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said during an August 6th press conference that Congress will not proceed with broader, bipartisan immigration reform due to President Obama’s use of executive orders on immigration.

“Not this Congress,” said McConnell, according to Latin Post. “I think when the president took the action he did, after the 2014 election, he pretty much made it impossible for us to go forward with immigration reform this Congress.”

McConnell indicated that under a different president in 2017, the immigration reform issue may be taken up again.

The Law Office of Catherine Brown, LLC, will offer updates on DACA/DAPA as news breaks. In the meantime, if you have questions about how current U.S. immigration laws apply to you, obtaining a visa, or any other issue, please contact us at 303-322-2117 or send us a message to speak with an experienced immigration attorney.