Expanded DACA Scheduled for February 18th, Absent Court Intervention

U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services is scheduled to begin accepting a wider range of applicants under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program on February 18th. The expansion of the program is one of the measures included in President Obama’s Executive Action on Immigration. Work authorization will now be available to qualifying persons of any age who entered the U.S. before the age of 16 and have been in the U.S. continuously since January 1st, 2010. The temporary period of work authorization granted will now also be extended from two years to three years.

The program may be halted by lawsuit, however, as more than half of U.S. states are involved with a lawsuit to halt the executive action. Texas is leading the charge of 26 states against the Executive Action, claiming it is an exercise in executive overreach. The Washington State Attorney General has filed an amicus brief arguing the opposite, and was joined by 12 states. So, the possibility is real that a court may issue an order to halt the agency from acting on the President’s program, at least temporarily.

The program is set to expand even further in May. The government currently projects that it will begin accepting applications in mid-to-late May of 2015 for undocumented individuals living in the United States who are the parent of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident and who (1) have lived continuously in the U.S. since January 1st, 2010; (2) had on November 20, 2014, a son or daughter who is a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident; and (3) who is not an enforcement priority for removal under certain published guidelines.