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Federal court stay of executive action on immigration impacts millions

The DACA and DAPA programs targeted for expansion by the administration are at least temporarily on hold by court action.

In February 2015, a federal judge shut down two major parts of President Barack Obama's November 20, 2014, executive action on immigration. A federal appeals court heard arguments on April 17 on the administration's request for a stay of the lower court's injunction. The decision has not yet been announced, so the lower court's injunction continues to block implementation of the president's intentions for the DAPA and DACA programs.

The president had ordered that within six months, immigration authorities could begin processing applications for DAPA or the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents program. DAPA, if implemented, would defer deportation action against certain law-abiding parents of citizens or of lawful permanent residents and let these parents work in the U.S. legally for three years.

The president's executive action had also included an expansion of the Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals or DACA program, already in place since 2012, that defers for two years removal action (subject to renewal) against certain undocumented people who arrived here as children, who meet certain educational or military service requirements, and are law abiding. During the deferral period, these people would also be authorized to obtain employment.

The president had wanted the DACA deferral time period lengthened from two to three years and to expand the group of eligible people.

Instead, the DACA and DAPA provisions of the executive action were stopped in their tracks by the temporary injunction issued by U.S. District Court Judge Andrew S. Hanen in a lawsuit in the Southern District of Texas filed by 26 states. Normally after a temporary injunction stopping a party from taking an action, the case moves forward to trial and resolution, but in this case, before the case could proceed in the District Court, the administration asked the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit to hear an emergency request that the injunction be lifted.

As of this writing in early May 2015, the nation waits for the Court of Appeals to say whether it will lift the injunction and allow the programs to go forward during the lawsuit, or keep it in place until resolution of the matter. Unfortunately for those impacted, it could be a long time before final resolution, considering the likelihood of further appeals.

According to slate.com, "as much as half the population of undocumented immigrants" could receive deferred action under these two programs, so this matter is immensely important to many.

If you, your child or parent could potentially benefit from DACA or DAPA relief, an experienced immigration attorney can answer your questions about the programs and about other immigration issues that may impact your situation.

From their offices in Louisville, Kentucky, the immigration lawyers at Vickerstaff Law Office, PSC, represent clients from the Louisville area, across Kentucky, and in Southern Indiana.

Keywords: immigration, DACA, DAPA, stay, injunction, court, lawsuit, executive action, Obama