UPDATES ON DAPA: What's the status?

First, a general timeline:

Nov. 20, 2014 - President Obama announces executive actions establishing DAPA and expanded-DACA

Dec. 03, 2014 - Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott sues the Department of Justice (DOJ) in an attempt to stop DAPA (case name: Texas vs. United States)

Feb. 16, 2015 - Judge Hanen issues injunction against DAPA (halting DAPA applications while Texas vs. United States continues)

Feb. 23, 2015 - DOJ appeals the injunction decision to the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, and asks for an emergency stay of the injunction (Texas vs. United States continues with Judge Hanen)

May 26, 2015 - 5th Circuit Court of Appeals denies emergency stay, upholding the injunction

Jul. 13, 2015 - Arguments presented before the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals

Nov. 09, 2015 - 5th Circuit Court of Appeals issues a decision in favor of the State of Texas; injunction stands

Nov. 20, 2015 - DOJ appeals the decision of the Court of Appeals to the Supreme Court

Dec. 01, 2015Supreme Court denies Texas’s request for 30 – day extension to respond to appeal (Good news for DAPA!)

So, where is DAPA now? 

For now, the principal case of Texas vs. United States is still in Judge Hanen's court in Texas. The Supreme Court has been asked to review only the injunction stopping DAPA, not the DAPA case itself.

Based on the Supreme Court’s decision of December 1, 2015 the estimated future timeline is as follows:

Dec. 29, 2015 – Deadline for Texas to respond to DOJ’s appeal

Jan. 15, 2016 – Supreme Court conference will consider the appeal; at this point, they will decide whether to accept the case or not. 

If the Supreme Court decides to hear the case, then:

Feb/Mar 2016 – Briefings on the case

Apr. 2016 – Oral arguments

Jun. 2016 – Supreme Court decision will likely be issued

If the Supreme Court decides NOT to hear the case, then:

We must wait for Judge Hanen to issue a decision on the Texas vs. United States case, and perhaps, have DAPA work its way up the ladder to the Supreme Court again. 

Keep checking our blog for futher updates on DAPA. 

DAPA UPDATE: Immigrants go on hunger strike for DAPA

In an effort to keep the DAPA case moving, immigrants from across the United States are participating in a hunger strike outside the Fifth Circuit Appeals Court in New Orleans, demanding a decision be issued by the Court of Appeals by October 23, 2015.

Regardless of the decision by the Fifth Circuit, it is highly likely that the losing party will appeal to the Supreme Court. Protesters claim that October 23, 2015 is an important date because if a decision is made before that date, the Supreme Court can hear arguments and issue judgement in 2016. If the decision by the Fifth Circuit is not made before that date, the Supreme Court will likely issue a decision on this case until at least 2017.

If the immigrants’ fasting efforts are successful, DAPA may be resolved by next year. Please keep checking our website for updates.

For more information, see the following news reports:

Exasperated immigrants are preparing to fast for reforms

Why Immigrants Are Fasting In Front of Courthouse in Louisiana

Oral Arguments on DAPA/Extended DACA Case

On July 10, 2015, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals held oral arguments so that attorneys from both sides of the lawsuit could address certain issues (such as whether the states have standing to bring the lawsuit) in person. Oral arguments give the appellate judges the opportunity to ask the lawyers questions that were not answered in the written pleadings, challenge the logic of some of the attorneys’ arguments, and dig further into issues the judges feel were not sufficiently addressed in writing. Oral arguments give the attorneys for each side the opportunity to further explain their positions and to clarify any misunderstandings.


Audio of the arguments can be heard here.



UPDATE: DAPA Injuction Remains in Place

  • The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals recently heard arguments in the case of State of Texas v. United States of America pertaining to the implementation of the Executive Actions issued by President Obama on November 20, 2014 (including DAPA).
  • The Court decided this week that President Obama’s program will remain on hold for now. The government will not accept applications while the case continues.
  • Arguments are scheduled for July at the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals and we expect a decision a few months later.
  • We, alongside many scholars and advocates, expect that the President’s program will move forward. This decision is a momentary setback and by no means is a final decision.
  • If the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals rules against the program, the Obama Administration will almost certainly appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.
  • We remain confident that the President’s program will be allowed to move forward and that so many of our clients, such as yourself, will be offered the relief which is so needed.
  • If you know US citizens who are eligible to vote, you should recommend that they contact their Congress person and voice their concerns about immigration policy.

CNN Report -- A delay – not defeat – for Obama’s immigration action

National Immigrant Justice Center -- Fifth Circuit Immigration Ruling Delays  Justice, Keeps Americans and Immigrant Families in Limbo

See the court's decision here.

UPDATE: New Developments on President Obama’s Executive Action

On February 16, 2015, Judge Andrew S. Hanen of the Federal District Court for the Southern District of Texas issued an injunction, temporarily stopping, President Obama’s executive action announced on November 20, 2014.

In situations like this, it is common to have many questions. Please consider the following:

  • This decision is NOT permanent;

  • The Federal Government has announced that it will appeal the order;

  • At this time, the only applications that are immediately affected are those requesting expanded DACA under the new guidelines. Those who qualify for DACA based on the guidelines announced on June 15, 2012 are NOT affected;

  • DACA applications under the new guidelines will not be accepted by USCIS until such time as Judge’s Hanen’s order is lifted;

  • Numerous immigration attorneys, organizations and even the federal government are confident that DAPA and expanded DACA (under new guidelines) will proceed (see White House statement here);

  • If you have already signed a contract with us for these applications, we will continue working on your cases so as to be prepared to file as soon as that is possible;

  • Our office will continue to meet and work with prospective DACA and DAPA clients – do not hesitate to call and make an appointment!

See news reports:

New York Times Article -- Dealt Setback, Obama Puts off Immigrant Plan

Think Progess Article -- Federal Judge Blocks Obama's Immigration Action at the 11th Hour. Here's Why It Probably Won't Work

United We Dream Article -- A Judge Just Ruled to Halt Immigration Executive Action. Here are 5 Things You Should Know

You can see Judge Hanen's Decision here




President Obama's Announcement (November 20, 2014)


On November 20, 2014, President Obama addressed the nation to announce his plans for a new immigration program available to parents of U.S. citizen (USC) or Legal Permanent Resident (LPR) children. President Obama announced a program called Deferred Action for Parental Accountability (DAPA),which will allow millions of undocumented immigrants to obtain work authorizations and to live without fear of deportations. Parents of USC or LPR children, who have been present in the U.S. since January 1, 2010 and who clear a criminal background check will be able to apply for this program. It is unclear at this moment if those who meet all the criteria but have previously been deported qualify. We will update this blog once this question is answered by the authorities. Applications for this program can be submitted approximately 180 days after President Obama's announcement (i.e., on May 19, 2015). We expect much more clarification between now and then as to who is eligible to apply.


As part of President Obama's executive action, the eligibility criteria for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) has been changed. As a quick review, the eligibility criteria for DACA, as announced on June 15, 2012 was as follows:

The applicant:

  1. Must have been 30 years old or younger as of June 15, 2012;
  2. Must have entered the U.S. before the age of 16;
  3. Must have been continuously present in the U.S. since June 15, 2007;
  4. Must have been present in the U.S. on June 15, 2012;
  5. Must have completed high school or a GED program OR be enrolled in high school or a GED program;
  6. Must not have not been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor, or three or more misdemeanors.

President Obama announced that two eligibility criteria will change: first, there will be no age cap for DACA applicants; and second, each applicant must have been continuously present in the U.S. since January 1, 2010. These changes mean that many more undocumented immigrants who entered the U.S. as children will now be able to apply for DACA.

President Obama's address to the nation can be seen here: