USCIS Will Not Begin Accepting Applications for Expanded DACA Today

by Joseph McKeown

US District Judge Andrew Hanen in Texas ruled late Monday night to temporarily block President Barack Obama's executive action on the expanded Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program as well as the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) program. Consequently contrary to their original plans US Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) will not be accepting applications today for the expanded DACA program, and going forward until further notice for expanded DACA and DAPA. The judge ruled that Obama's executive action failed to comply with the Administrative Procedure Act, which "calls for the White House to afford a longer notification and comment period before taking action." The Department of Justice is planning to appeal this decision, and US Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh C. Johnson issued a statement:

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...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.

Secretary Johnson goes on to note that the court ruling does not affect the existing DACA program and that individuals may continue to apply for the initial or renewal DACA under the original guidelines established in 2012. We will continue to provide updates as we receive them.