The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services set May 19, 2015 as the date for accepting applications for Obama’s program known as Deferred Action for Parents Accountability (DAPA). But on February 16, 2015, District Judge Andrew Hanen issued an injunction that resulted in the suspension of the implementation of Obama’s executive actions. A National Day of Action was held by various immigration advocate groups on May 19, 2015 to protest the blocked DAPA/DACA extension programs.
Joey has been residing in the United States since 2005. He entered the United States with a H1B professional working visa. In 2008, his employed closed their business due to financial losses. Joey was terminated. Despite his termination Joey did not depart to the Philippines and continued to stay unlawfully in the United States. He has a U.S. citizen developmentally disabled child who is receiving regular medical check-ups. Joey also has a second U.S. citizen child who is 18 years old.
Joey is one of thousands of undocumented immigrants who has U.S. citizen children and is waiting for the implementation of the DAPA. He has heard about the injunction issued by Judge Hanen and of the appeal that was filed by the Obama administration. Joey wants to know if DAPA will ever be implemented. He meets all the eligibility requirements to apply for the DAPA relief, like thousands of probable DAPA applicants. Joey remains apprehensive whether he will ever benefit from the temporary DAPA relief.
The States’ Lawsuit
In the case of Texas v. United States of America, a lawsuit was filed by 26 States against President Obama’s executive actions. The plaintiffs questioned the constitutionality of the executive actions as it bypassed the U.S. Congress on an immigration matter. Federal District Judge Andrew Hanen of Brownsville, Texas. Judge Hanen was a nominee of George W. Bush assigned at the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas. He is a known conservative who has been a critic of President Obama’s immigration policies. So when the decision was reached to suspend the implementation of the program, immigrant advocates were not surprised. His decision did not even address the constitutionality of the executive actions.
Right now the case is on appeal with the United States Court of Appeals for the 5th District. Arguments were heard on April 17, 2015 and amicus briefs were submitted to the appeals court. A decision may be rendered anytime.
In the meantime, thousands of undocumented Filipinos, potentially eligible for the DAPA and who are similarly situated as Joey, are anxious about this prolong litigation. The alternative request of the government counsel, if the injunction is not fully lifted, is to continue to partially lift it and implement the DAPA program in States that are not plaintiffs in this case.
Many experts agree that the February 16, 2015 District Court Judge’s injunction may still be reversed and that hopefully, the appeals court will order full implementation of the Obama’s executive actions. It will just be a matter of time.
(Atty. Lourdes Tancinco is a partner at Tancinco Law Offices, a San Francisco CA based firm and may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, www.tancinco.com, facebook.com/tancincolaw or at 1 888 930 0808)