DACA, DAPA Still on Hold: TX Judge Refuses to Grant Appeal

As the legal battle over President Obama’s programs for undocumented immigrants continues to unfold, the Texas Judge that stopped the initiative in its tracks in February issued another disappointing but expected decision. On Apr. 7 Texas District Court Judge Andrew Hanen stated that he would not take back his decision to temporarily stop the Department of Homeland Security from moving forward with the new DACA and DAPA programs that Obama announced in November 2014.

While the refusal to grant the appeal on the injunction is disappointing, it comes as no surprise to immigrant rights advocates as none expected the trial judge to reverse his own decision. The DHS expected this as well and had already asked a higher court to review the trial judge’s decision. On Apr. 17, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals is scheduled to listen to arguments from both sides and make their decision shortly after.

Judge Hanen issued the injunction on the implementation of the new DACA program and DAPA on Feb. 16, just two days before the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services was set to begin accepting applications for the new DACA program. It temporarily put both Expanded DACA, a program for undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children, and DAPA, a program for the undocumented parents of U.S. citizens and permanent residents, on hold. If granted, the appeal would have lifted this injunction and allowed the DHS to immediately implement the programs.

On a positive note, supporters of DACA and DAPA received some good news this week. The same court of appeals that will be hearing arguments on Apr. 17 ruled in favor of the Obama administration for a previously filed lawsuit against the 2012 DACA program. While there are no promises until the court rules on the appeal, this decision offers hope to supporters.