Fifth Circuit Strikes Down DACA and Expanded DAPA

On November 9, 2015, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit upheld an injunction permanently barring the implementation of two executive action initiatives President Obama announced in November 2014 – Deferred Action for Parental Accountability (DAPA) and “expanded” Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).

DAPA and expanded DACA would allow eligible immigrants to apply for deferred action (essentially, delayed deportation) and work permits for three-year periods. DAPA allows certain parents of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents to apply for work permits, provided they have lived in the country for at least five years and not committed other crimes.  Expanded DACA would extend the validity of work-authorization to three years. It would also modify the previously-established guidelines, expanding the population of eligible individuals.

On Tuesday, November 10, 2015, the Obama Administration stated that it will appeal the decision to the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS). The Obama Administration hopes that SCOTUS will accept the case for Spring 2016. SCOTUS generally must accept a case by January in time to hold oral arguments and make a decision by June of the same year.

Initiatives other than DAPA and expanded DACA are not affected by the Fifth Circuit’s decision. Eligible individuals may continue to come forward and request initial grant of DACA or renewal of DACA pursuant to the guidelines established in 2012. Further, the removal priorities established in the 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.

Beware of scams. The government is not currently accepting applications for DAPA or expanded DACA. It is only accepting applications for DACA pursuant to the 2012 guidelines.

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