President Obama’s attempt to expand the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and implementation of the Deferred Action for Parents of U.S. citizens and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) is temporarily on hold, after a U.S. District Court in Texas issued a preliminary injunction based on the Administrative Procedures Act (APA). The agency was scheduled to begin accepting DACA applications on the expanded basis, beginning today.
The decision does not come as a surprise to those following the issue closely. The State of Texas picked the forum for the suit, and did so with forethought. It is somewhat of a surprise that that the decision was based on the APA’s rulmaking process, rather than on a determination of a constitutional overreach by the President. The U.S. Government will appeal, and the matter could take some time to reach judicial closure. The case could end up in the Supreme Court eventually. If so, then it will be a matter of swing votes, as Supreme Court decisions usually are. In the meantime, DHS and the White House have said they will not move forward with the expanded DACA and new DAPA programs.
Congress continues to avoid dealing with the immigration issue. The House of Representatives latest plan is to threaten to defund Department of Homeland Security over the President’s executive action. Pundits and campaign experts now will analyze the political fallout of these non-events for Republicans and Democrats, as each party positions itself for elections next year. This is how you don’t get things done in DC.
Here is the press release issued in response to the decision by DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson:
Feb. 17, 2015
Contact: DHS Press Office, (202) 282-8010
STATEMENT BY SECRETARY JEH C. JOHNSON CONCERNING THE DISTRICT COURT’S RULING CONCERNING DAPA AND DACA
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.