By Attorney Farhad Sethna © 2015
Judge Andrew Hanen, a federal judge in Brownsville, Texas blocked President Obama’s DACA and DAPA executive actions in an injunction just after midnight on Tuesday, February 17. The judge did not overturn the executive actions, but rather issued an injunction blocking any further executive action on this matter until the case can be completely heard. Therefore, this is not a permanent injunction, but a temporary injunction. The Obama administration has indicated it will appeal. The injunction can be lifted by the 5th Circuit court of appeals.
The judge who issued the decision was appointed by President George W. Bush. He is clearly Republican-leaning. The judge has on several occasions issued statements clearly indicative of an anti-immigrant sentiment. The Texas Solicitor General who filed the lawsuit, which was later joined by twenty-five other Republican controlled states clearly chose his jurisdiction carefully in the southern district of Texas, so that the case would be heard by a conservative judge in a conservative court. The appeal of this decision will now go to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit, which is also a very conservative appeals court.
Since the judge is enjoined (prevented) the DACA program from proceeding, the expanded DACA applications which could have been filed beginning tomorrow, Wednesday, February 18, 2015 are now “on hold”.
The USCIS has already issued instructions stating that it will not accept applications until the case is finally decided.
Therefore, once again new DAPA applicants will once again be “in limbo” pending the outcome of this latest anti-immigrant decision. It remains to be seen what the 5th Circuit will decide, and the case may even then proceed to the Supreme Court.
However, the filing of cases under the “old” DACA (of 2012) is NOT affected, nor are renewal applications under the old DACA approvals. So – those applicants who can qualify for DACA status under the 2012 executive action CAN still file both first-time as well as renewal applications.
CONCLUSION (for now, at least!):
Future direction is far from clear at this time. Clearly the anti-immigrant Republicans have won this round. However, a legal battle will surely ensue. While the DACA applications already granted and already in process will NOT be affected, nor will new applications under the old DACA executive action. New applicants will have to remain “on hold” at least until the Appeals court makes a decision. Stay tuned to this blog for further developments.
About the author: Attorney Farhad Sethna has practiced law for over 20 years. Since 1996, he has been an adjunct professor of Immigration Law at the University of Akron, School of Law, in Akron, Ohio. He is a frequent speaker at Continuing Legal Education and professional development seminars on various immigration-related topics. His practice is limited to immigration and small business. With offices in Cuyahoga Falls, Akron and Dover, Ohio, Attorney Sethna represents clients in all types of immigration cases. Our number is: (330)-384-8000. Please send your general immigration questions to AttorneySethna@immigration-america.com. We will try to answer as many questions as possible.
This is only general legal information. Please consult a qualified immigration attorney for advice on your specific case.
attorney for advice on your specific case.