In 2012, the U.S. government implemented the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which provides that “certain people who came to the United States as children and meet several guidelines may request consideration of deferred action for a period of two years, subject to renewal.” Deferred action is the use of prosecutorial discretion to defer removal action against an individual for a certain period of time. Individuals who qualify for deferred action are also eligible for work authorization. Since 2012, DACA has helped thousands of immigrants avoid deportation. The program, however, provided deferred action to a limited group of immigrants.
In November 2014, President Barack Obama announced an executive action immigration plan, which provided a series of executive actions to crack down on illegal immigration and to prioritize deporting felons and not families. One notable—and controversial part—of Obama’s executive action plan has been the executive action to expand the population eligible for the DACA program. Notably, the expanded executive action DACA provides deferred action relief for “people of any current age who entered the United States before the age of 16 and lived in the United States continuously since January 1, 2010.” The expanded executive action DACA had been expected to provide deportation relief for millions of immigrants in the United States.
Texas Judge Halts Expanded Executive Action DACA
In December 2014, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott filed a lawsuit on behalf of Texas and 26 other states claiming that the President exceeded his legal authority in issuing his executive action plan. Recently, Texas federal judge Andrew Hanen issued a preliminary injunction to block the President’s administration from implementing the executive action plan, and in particular, the expanded DACA program.
The judge believes that the President abdicated his responsibility to uphold the United States Constitution when he issued his executive action plan. The President’s administration is up in arms over the federal judge’s recent ruling halting the President’s executive action plan. In response to the ruling, the White House issued a statement:
“The Supreme Court and Congress have made clear that the federal government can set priorities in enforcing our immigration laws—which is exactly what the President did when he announced commonsense policies to help fix our broken immigration system.”
The White House maintains that the President acted within his legal authority in issuing the executive action plan, and it plans to appeal the judge’s decision halting the executive action plan.
2012 DACA Program Unaffected By Injunction of Executive Action
It is important to remember that the DACA plan instituted in 2012 is not affected by the judge’s decision. The federal judge in Texas specifically stated that the injunction does not involve the 2012 DACA program, which has provided deferred action of about 700,000 teenagers and young adults.
USCIS has also reminded individuals that the 2012 DACA program is not affected by the court’s temporary halting the executive action plan. As such, USCIS has stated that, “Individuals may continue to come forward and request an initial grant of DACA or renewal of DACA under the guidelines established [through executive action] in 2012.”
Questions About the Expanded Executive Action Plan? Contact a Texas Immigration Attorney
If you have questions regarding how the judge’s decision to halt the executive action immigration plan affects you, The Lozano Law Firm, PLLC can answer all your questions. Contact an experienced San Antonio, TX immigration attorney today. Call our San Antonio office at (210) 932-3600 or the San Angelo office at (325) 227-6736.