Hold Off on Plans to Apply for Expanded DACA or DAPA

Due to a federal court decision, USCIS will wait to accept applications for Deferred Action under Obama Executive Orders.

NOTE: THIS UPDATE WAS WRITTEN IN 2015. THE EXECUTIVE ORDER REFERRED TO HERE HAS SINCE BEEN PLACED ON PERMANENT HOLD BY THE U.S. SUPREME COURT, WITH ITS JUNE 2016 DECISION IN  U.S. v. TEXAS.

Today was supposed to be the day when U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) would begin accepting applications for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) from non-citizens who newly qualify, based on President Obama's Executive Order of  November 20, 2014. That order modified an earlier order from  June 15, 2012, under which  DACA was created, but limited to those non-citizens who were under age 31. The 2014 executive action removed this age cap and extended DACA benefits from two years to three years (with the possibility to renew in three-year increments).

However, the DACA expansion will be delayed to some indefinite time in the future. The reason is that Judge Andrew Hanen, with a  federal district court in Texas, has granted a preliminary injunction temporarily blocking this expansion of DACA, after 26 states filed  a lawsuit. (State of Texas, et al v. U.S.A, 2/16/15).

The injunction also blocks  the implementation of the DAPA (Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents)  program, though this wasn't due to start quite yet anyway. The DAPA program would allow parents of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents to request deferred action and employment authorization for three years, after filing an application in which they prove that they have lived in the United States continuously since January 1, 2010, and passing required background checks.

In a statement from Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh C. Johnson, the agency assured prospective applicants that the agency "strongly disagree[s]" with and intends to appeal the temporary injunction, and has every confidence that it will ultimately prevail.

Secretary Johnson also noted that this order has no effect on DACA eligibility for those who qualify under the original order. They may continue to file initial or renewal applications as before.