Late Monday, a federal judge issued a temporary injunction on President Obama’s executive amnesty program announced in November 2014. (FoxNews.com, Feb. 17, 2015) Judge Andrew Hanen of the District Court for the Southern District of Texas issued the injunction after ruling that the plaintiffs — Texas and two dozen other states — had sufficiently demonstrated that the implementation of the President’s memos granting deferred action and parole status to millions of illegal aliens would injure their states.
The District Court’s ruling came just as the Obama Administration was set to begin implementation of the amnesty programs outlined in the memos the issued by Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson last November. Indeed, DHS had scheduled to begin accepting applications for its expanded DACA program today. (USCIS News Alert, Jan. 30, 2015) The expansion would implement the following changes:
- Elimination of the age limit. Initially, the DACA program was limited only to aliens were under the age of 31 on the date DACA was announced (June 15, 2012).
- Reduction of the length of requested continuous United States residence. While DACA recipients originally were required to identify a date of entry after January 1, 2010, aliens are now eligible for DACA with a date of entry after June 15, 2007.
- Increased duration of reprieve from removal. The Johnson Memos extended the length of DACA status from two to three years. Today, the three-year DACA status will now be available to the pool of expanded DACA program applicants. (But see FAIR Legislative Update, Nov. 24, 2014 (describing how the Johnson Memos offer three-year DACA status to new first-time DACA applicants and DACA renewal applicants immediately)).
However, instead of launching the expanded DACA program, the Judge Hanen’s injunction has put this program and other programs initiated last November on hold. In a release issued Tuesday, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said he “strongly disagrees” with the decision, but confirmed that “the Department of Homeland Security will not accept applications for the expanded DACA program on February 18, as originally planned. “Until further notice, he added, “we will also suspend the plan to accept requests for DAPA.” (Johnson statement, Feb. 17, 2015)