Contributed by Koby Polaski, Senior Attorney, Edwards Office
It is difficult to keep straight the many legal issues playing out in the litigation between twenty-six states and the federal government over the legality of President Obama’s DAPA (Deferred Action for Parental Accountability) and expanded DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) programs. We are keeping our eyes and ears on three major issues, outlined here:
1) Motion for Emergency Stay: The Department of Justice (DOJ) filed an appeal with the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals asking that the Court allow President Obama’s DAPA and expanded DACA programs to continue while the underlying litigation plays out. If the Court grants the emergency stay, DAPA and the DACA extension would take effect while Judge Hanen considers the legality of the programs and the 5th Circuit considers DOJ’s appeal of the injunction (which temporarily halted the implementation of both programs). In its appeal, DOJ asked the Court to decide whether it will grant the Emergency Stay by March 27.
2) Appeal of the Preliminary Injunction Ordered by Judge Hanen: The Department of Justice also appealed the district court’s injunction. The injunction blocked the implementation of DAPA and expanded DACA while the litigation is pending. If the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals rules in favor of the Department of Justice, DAPA and expanded DACA would take effect. Importantly, the Motion for Emergency Stay and the Appeal have only to do with the preliminary injunction (the district court’s decision to block DAPA and expanded DACA). The actual case remains before Judge Hanen at the district court level. The Court of Appeals will hopefully rule on the Emergency Stay before the end of the month; however, don’t expect a ruling on the actual injunction until June at the earliest.
3) Federal District Court: Meanwhile, the actual claim brought by the states against the Department of Justice remains at the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas. On March 19, the court held a hearing on various issues, including a motion by the States for early discovery. If the district court ultimately rules against the DAPA and expanded DACA programs, expect the DOJ to appeal that ruling as well.
If you have questions regarding this confusing, multi-faceted litigation and its impact on you and your family, we encourage you to contact our office to speak with one of our expert immigration attorneys.
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