USCIS to postpone acceptance of “Expanded DACA” petitions in light of federal injunction
Yesterday, U.S. District Judge Andrew S. Hanen enjoined President Obama’s executive orders to expand DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) and DAPA (Deferred Action for Parents of Americans). You can read Judge Hanen’s injunction and 123-page opinion here.
The United States is appealing the decision; however, in the meantime, USCIS has postponed acceptance of DACA petitions which was scheduled originally for February 18. In response to Judge Hanen’s decision, Secretary Jeh Johnson of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security issued the following response on the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s website:
I strongly disagree with Judge Hanen’s decision to temporarily enjoin implementation of Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) and expanded Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). The Department of Justice will appeal that temporary injunction; in the meantime, we recognize we must comply with it.
Accordingly, the Department of Homeland Security will not begin accepting requests for the expansion of DACA tomorrow, February 18, as originally planned. Until further notice, we will also suspend the plan to accept requests for DAPA.
The Department of Justice, legal scholars, immigration experts and even other courts have said that our actions are well within our legal authority. Our actions will also benefit the economy and promote law enforcement. We fully expect to ultimately prevail in the courts, and we will be prepared to implement DAPA and expanded DACA once we do.
It is important to emphasize what the District Court’s order does not affect.
The Court’s order does not affect the existing DACA. Individuals may continue to come forward and request initial grant of DACA or renewal of DACA pursuant to the guidelines established in 2012.
Nor does the Court’s order affect this Department’s ability to set and implement enforcement priorities. The priorities established in my November 20, 2014 memorandum entitled “Policies for the Apprehension, Detention and Removal of Undocumented Immigrants” remain in full force and effect. Pursuant to those enforcement priorities, we continue to prioritize public safety, national security, and border security. I am pleased that an increasing percentage of removals each year are of those convicted of crimes. I am also pleased that, due in large part to our investments in and prioritization of border security, apprehensions at the southern border – a large indicator of total attempts to cross the border illegally — are now at the lowest levels in years.
For more information, visit www.dhs.gov.
Please stay tuned for more information.