On February 17, 2015, Secretary Jeh C. Johnson announced that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will not accept requests under the expanded DACA initiative on February 18, 2015, as originally planned, due to the federal District Court’s decision to temporarily enjoin the implementation of Deferred Action for Parental Awareness (DAPA) and expanded Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). Until further notice, DHS has also suspended plans to accept requests for DAPA. However, DOJ will appeal the temporary injunction, and DHS states that it expects it will ultimately prevail in the courts, and will implement DAPA and expanded DACA once it does.
It is important to emphasize that the District Court’s order does not affect the following:
- The existing DACA program:
Eligible individuals may continue to come forward and request initial grant of DACA or renewal of DACA pursuant to the guidelines established in 2012.
- DHS’ ability to set and implement enforcement priorities:
Secretary Johnson states that the priorities established in his 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, DHS will continue to prioritize public safety, national security, and border security.
The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) has also issued a statement that it is confident that the federal government will ultimately prevail in the lawsuit, and that DAPA and expanded DACA will be fully implemented. AILA also pointed out a number of flaws in the District Court’s decision.
Individuals who are potentially eligible for DAPA and expanded DACA should continue to prepare by collecting necessary documentation. However, individuals should beware of scams and the unauthorized practice of law.