Legal Challenge Puts Hold on DAPA and Expanded DACA Programs

On February 16, 2015, a U.S. federal district court issued a temporary injunction preventing implementation of two immigration programs created through executive actions taken by President Obama. The injunction applies to the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) program, and expansion of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). As a result of this court order, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has put on hold its plans to accept DAPA applications or DACA applications based on the expanded eligibility criteria.

Background on DACA and DAPA

The DACA program, which was created by executive action on June 15, 2012, allows qualifying immigrants who came to the United States as children to obtain two-year “deferrals” of removal (i.e. deportation) proceedings and to obtain work authorization in the United States. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) WebSite includes helpful information regarding the requirements to qualify for the DACA program. The President proposed an expansion of this program in his televised speech of November 20, 2014, along with the creation of the DAPA program, which would provide immigration relief to qualifying undocumented foreign nationals who have a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident child.

DAPA and Expanded DACA on Hold, Pending Appeal

The DHS is appealing the district court’s decision to prevent the implementation of these programs. But, as of this writing, the DHS will not be accepting applications for DAPA or for DACA cases based on the expanded eligibility criteria.

H-4 EAD Rule and Prior DACA Programs Not Impacted by Lawsuit

The injunction does not affect any other actual or proposed changes addressed by the President through executive action. For example, the regulation issued on February 25, 2015 to allow certain H-4 spouses to apply for employment authorization is not impacted by the court case. The injunction also does not alter the existing DACA program that was created in 2012. Individuals may continue to request an initial grant of DACA or renewal of DACA pursuant to the previous guidelines. For more information on the DACA renewal process, please see the MurthyDotCom NewsBrief, USCIS Announces Renewal Process for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) (02.Jul.2014).


The federal government is aggressively challenging the temporary injunction imposed by the federal district court. For the time being, however, potential DAPA applicants and those who hoped to qualify under the expanded DACA program must continue to wait. MurthyDotCom will provide updates as this case continues to make its way through the court system.


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Disclaimer: The information provided here is of a general nature and may not apply to any specific or particular circumstance. It is not to be construed as legal advice nor presumed indefinitely up to date.