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Justice Department Challenges Judge Hanen’s Order Blocking DAPA / Expanded DACA

On Monday, February 23, the Justice Department filed a petition for an emergency stay asking U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen to lift the preliminary injunction that he recently issued which temporarily blocked implementation of President Obama’s November 20, 2014, executive actions on DAPA and Expanded DACA.

The Justice Department stated that it may go ahead and file an appeal if Judge Hanen does not respond by the close of business on Wednesday, February 25.

Remember that the preliminary injunction (temporary hold) only affects Expanded DACA (which was set to go into effect on February 18) and DAPA (which was scheduled to go into effect in May 2015).  Applicants may still apply for the original DACA or for DACA renewal.

Please stay tuned for further updates.

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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.

The Expanded DACA instructions are out!

Update 02/18/2015:  Please be aware that a federal judge in Texas has issued an injunction against Expanded DACA and DAPA.  Therefore, these programs are on hold until further notice.

The preliminary instructions for Expanded DACA Form I-821D are here!  While USCIS has not released the forms and will not accept applications until February 18, the instructions provide guidance on the all-important evidentiary component.  Read the full preliminary instructions here.

USCIS has also released a more detailed Frequently Asked Questions section on Expanded DACA.  Please note that these FAQs do not go into effect until February 18.

(Bilingual Post / Aporte bilingüe) Northeast Mississippi: Free DACA/DAPA Workshop / Charla Gratis sobre DACA/DAPA

Are you in Northeast Mississippi?

You are invited to a free DAPA/”Expanded” DACA workshop this Sunday (February 15, 2015) at 10:30 a.m. at St. Christopher Catholic Church in Pontotoc, Mississippi:

More details here:  https://www.facebook.com/events/1544245612494514/

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¿Está Ud. en el noreste de Misisipi?

Ud. está invitad@ a una charla gratis sobre DAPA/DACA Ampliada este domingo (15 del feb.) a las 10:30 am en la Iglesia San Cristóbal en Pontotoc.

Más información aquí:  https://www.facebook.com/events/1544245612494514/

National Migration Week 2015

What a great weekend! To celebrate National Migration Week, the Catholic Charities office in Northeast Mississippi invited me to Vardaman, Houston, and Tupelo, Mississippi, this past Thursday to Saturday to present on President Obama’s recent executive order and to offer legal clinics for interested community members. Nearly 100 people attended the weekend’s events!

Thanks to all who came and participated, as well as to the Catholic Charities-Northeast Mississippi Office in Vardaman, St. James Catholic Church in Tupelo, and Immaculate Heart of Mary Church in Houston for your hospitality. Last, but certainly not least, I’d like to thank Mis Valles restaurant in Vardaman for the wonderful meals!

A Preview of President Obama’s Immigration Plan

What do we know so far about President Obama’s proposed executive order on immigration?  While the president hasn’t revealed the plan to the public yet, he provided a preview to the media earlier today.

NPR has published an article outlining the proposal after the press conference.  Among the highlights:

  • The plan will provide temporary protection against removal (deportation) for some undocumented immigrants.  It will not provide lawful permanent residence (“green cards”) or a “pathway to citizenship” to anyone. It likely will provide temporary work authorization to people who apply and receive approval as well.
  • The relief will affect two primary groups:
    • Parents of U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents who have lived in the United States for at least 5 years.
    • A larger “DACA” group (young people who arrived in the United States as children either without authorization or never left after overstaying a visa).
  • For the many undocumented individuals who do not fall under these categories, the president also intends to issue guidance directing the Department of Homeland Security not to use removal (“deportation”) resources on individuals who do not pose a national security or public safety threat.

For the full article, you may visit “7 Questions about the President’s Immigration Plan Answered” on NPR.com.

If you want to watch President Obama’s address tonight, you can view it at 8E/7C on CNN, MSNBC, PBS, Fox News, Univision, Telemundo, or online at whitehouse.gov/live.

DACA Renewal Presentation in Tupelo; Saturday, August 16

Bilingual post: / Mensaje bilingüe:

I will give a bilingual educational presentation on DACA renewal this Saturday, Aug. 16, at 10:00 AM at St. James Catholic Church in Tupelo, MS (1911 N. Gloster St.; Tupelo, MS 38804). The event is free and open to the public.
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Haré una presentación bilingüe y educativa sobre la renovación de DACA este sábado (el 16 de ago.) a las 10 de la mañana en Iglesia Católica St. James (1911 Calle N. Gloster; Tupelo, MS 38804). Este evento es gratis y abierto al público.