On Friday, August 17, U.S. District Judge John D. Bates ruled that the Trump administration does not have to accept new applications for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program but must continue processing renewals while the future of the program is under appeal. In addition, Bates ordered that the Trump administration does not have to accept I-131 applications (travel permits to re-enter the United States on advance parole) based on DACA. This was a surprise because Judge Bates had ruled on August 3 to fully restore the DACA program and require the government to accept both new and renewal DACA applications. The August 3rd ruling came with the big caveat that it was delayed for 20 days to allow the government to further explain its legal opinion regarding why they believe that DACA is unconstitutional. Bates’ August 3 ruling was stayed by his August 17 ruling. This means that there are no changes to the DACA program at this time and the government will continue accepting renewal applications only.
Bates is one of the federal judges presiding over four lawsuits aimed at maintaining or eliminating DACA, which was created by executive order by President Barack Obama and then ended by President Trump. Judges in the District of Columbia, California and New York have kept DACA alive for months, issuing injunctions and ordering the government to keep processing renewal applications. Meanwhile, the state of Texas and 6 other states sued the government in a Texas federal district court. This lawsuit challenges the legality of the DACA program and it is in direct conflict with the other three lawsuits mentioned above. There was a preliminary injunction hearing on August 8 in the Texas case. As of August 23, Judge Hanen had yet to rule on Texas’ request for a preliminary injunction to force the government to stop accepting DACA applications entirely. Final briefs in the New York case are due in October, and in California, attorneys are awaiting a decision from a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit. Because there are multiple pending cases and the issues are complicated, we recommend that you consult with an immigration attorney before you take any action on DACA.
The DACA program remains in legal limbo and things can change rapidly. Because each case is different, please ask your attorney which option is best for you. If you would like to hire us, please make a consultation appointment by calling our office at (303) 297-9171 or (719) 434-5660.
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