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What is the status of DAPA and expanded DACA?

As you probably already know, President Barack Obama took executive action in November of last year aimed at helping millions of immigrants stay in the United States legally. The Obama Administration did this by taking two steps:

  • Creating the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) program, which provides deportation deferment for certain undocumented parents of U.S. citizens and parents of lawful permanent residents; and
  • Expanding the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which provides deportation deferment for youths who came to the United States as children.

However, earlier this year, a federal district court judge issued an order -- called an injunction -- that prevents the programs from being implemented. That means U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is currently not accepting applications for DAPA or expanded DACA.

What happens next?

The Obama Administration has appealed the federal judge's injunction with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. The court is currently deciding whether to put the injunction on hold while the issue makes its way through the court system.

If the court decides to put the injunction on hold, DAPA and expanded DACA could continue and USCIS can begin accepting applications for both. But if the court decides not to put the injunction on hold, USCIS will still not accept applications for either until a final decision is made.

The court could make a decision as earlier as today, or it could take months. It is expected that the U.S. Supreme Court will eventually issue a final decision on the fate of the programs.

At this point, no one can be sure what will happen, but it is extremely important to be prepared so that you can apply if and when DAPA and expanded DACA are allowed to move forward.

Also, keep in mind...

  • If you are eligible for deferred action under the original DACA program that was announced in June 2012, you can apply now. 
  • The National Immigration Law Canter also has information about DAPA and expanded DACA on its website.
  • As always, your best option is to discuss the specific facts of your case with a trusted immigration lawyer.

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