Federal Judge Stops Administration from Implementing Some Immigration Changes
A federal district court in Texas granted a preliminary injunction temporarily blocking the implementation of Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful permanent Residents (DAPA) and the expansion of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) in a lawsuit brought by 26 states. (State of Texas, et al v. U.S.A, 2/16/15). The Department of Homeland Security (DHS), which was set to begin receiving applications for the two new programs implemented by executive order last year, has said it disagrees with the judge’s decision and has asked the Department of Justice to appeal the decision. In the mean time, the Secretary of DHS issued the following statement:
The Department of Homeland Security will not begin accepting requests for the expansion of DACA tomorrow, February 18, as originally planned. Until further notice, we will also suspend the plan to accept requests for DAPA.
The Department of Justice, legal scholars, immigration experts and even other courts have said that our actions are well within our legal authority. Our actions will also benefit the economy and promote law enforcement. We fully expect to ultimately prevail in the courts, and we will be prepared to implement DAPA and expanded DACA once we do.
It is important to emphasize what the District Court’s order does not affect.
The Court’s order does not affect the existing DACA. Individuals may continue to come forward and request initial grant of DACA or renewal of DACA pursuant to the guidelines established in 2012.
Nor does the Court’s order affect this Department’s ability to set and implement enforcement priorities. The priorities established in my November 20, 2014 memorandum entitled “Policies for the Apprehension, Detention and Removal of Undocumented Immigrants” remain in full force and effect. Pursuant to those enforcement priorities, we continue to prioritize public safety, national security, and border security. I am pleased that an increasing percentage of removals each year are of those convicted of crimes. I am also pleased that, due in large part to our investments in and prioritization of border security, apprehensions at the southern border – a large indicator of total attempts to cross the border illegally — are now at the lowest levels in years.