As you may have heard, a Texas judge has issued a preliminary injunction that temporarily blocks the implementation of President Obama’s new DAPA and expanded DACA programs. Below are 5 important facts for you to know and share with your community, and attached is a briefing note on the decision.
1. Individuals who currently have DACA are not impacted.
They can, and should, still apply for DACA renewal. The 2012 executive action on DACA was not challenged by this lawsuit or impacted by the injunction.
2. This is temporary.
The White House has promised that the Justice Department will appeal the judge’s decision, and we are confident that this temporary injunction will be reversed and that implementation will move forward. Although this could delay the start of when DHS accepts applications for DAPA and expanded DACA, it is expected to be a minor delay until the higher 5th Circuit court can rule. Texas Judge Hanen was anticipated to give an anti-immigrant ruling, which was why those trying to stop executive action chose to file their case in his court. His opinion is far outside of the legal mainstream and highly likely to be reversed. It’s important to note that the ruling does not challenge the legal authority of the president to make these executive actions, but claims that they did not go through the public notice and comment period that changes in statute often involve. The President’s actions were consistent with his constitutional authority to set immigration enforcement priorities and apply prosecutorial discretion, which every president before him has done.
3. We can and must continue to prepare for DAPA and expanded DACA.
The injunction only impacts the government’s ability to process applications. We are concerned how media reports might instill fear in those eligible. Our community education and preparation sessions should not be cancelled or delayed – there is more need for community education than ever to debunk the misinformation that is going around about this process. Service providers are still encouraged to meet with individuals and help them prepare their applications and gather documents so that as soon as the injunction is lifted individuals can immediately send in their applications and get relief as soon as possible
4. The Texas court case and injunction do not impact all of the President’s executive actions.
The injunction only refers to the most recent announcement of DAPA and expanded DACA. It does not stop the important changes to enforcement priorities or the replacement of the Secure Communities (SCOM) Program with the Prioritized Enforcement Program (PEP). This means that individuals who will likely qualify for DACA and DAPA remain non-priorities for enforcement, and should not be put into removal proceedings, detained or deported. In the interim before implementation, ICE offices have been instructed to flag cases that would potentially qualify for DACA and DAPA and not pursue enforcement action against them.
If you know of anyone in your community who might qualify for expanded DACA or DAPA and is placed into removal proceedings or detained, please notify Jen Smyers (firstname.lastname@example.org) immediately who will try to be helpful in urging the administration to stop their deportation.
5. There is a lot we can do to influence what happens next.
We need to stand strong with the administration and urge them to take bold, swift action to seek an emergency stay of the injunction, which would allow implementation to move forward. We also need to educate our public officials on the importance of DAPA and expanded DACA. Actions are being planned across the country to protest the court ruling and urge officials to stand with their communities in opposing the injunction and seeking full and immediate implementation of DAPA and expanded DACA. Reach out to your local, state and national policy makers to voice your support for DACA and DAPA and urge them to stand with you and the community to support these programs and educate the public about their importance.
CWS is proud to be a partner of iAmerica, which has many resources that will be helpful as you continue to prepare for the implementation of DAPA and expanded DACA, including checklists and process flow charts. We urge everyone to be in touch with immigrant rights groups near you to educate your community about the facts around implementation and the Texas court case, raise your voices in support of DACA and DAPA, and prepare for strong and swift implementation as soon as the injunction is lifted. Also, please see the attached resources from the White House regarding the positive economic impact that DACA and DAPA will have in states across the country. The White House has requested that we let them know about community education events and preparation sessions so that they can be supportive of our efforts. Please email Jen Smyers (email@example.com) about any events you are planning or participating in.
For more information, please be in touch with Noel Andersen for ways you can engage your community and advocate for these programs (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Jen Smyers is the Associate Director for Immigration & Refugee Policy with Church World Service.