Appeals Court Upholds DAPA and DACA Injunction

On November 9, 2015, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit ruled against President Barack Obama’s Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) program and the expansion of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Barring a reversal by the U.S. Supreme Court, this ruling in Texas v. United States means that the injunction against DAPA and the expanded DACA programs will remain in effect until the case challenging the legality of these programs is resolved.

Background on DAPA and DACA

DACA was created by executive action on June 15, 2012. It allows qualifying immigrants who came to the United States as children to obtain two-year “deferrals” of removal (i.e. deportation) as well as temporary employment authorization. President Obama proposed an expansion of DACA, as well as a new program known as DAPA, to include certain parents of U.S. citizens or lawful permanent resident children. A more detailed discussion of these programs is available in the MurthyDotCom NewsBrief, Legal Challenge Puts Hold on DAPA and Expanded DACA Programs (09.Mar.2015).

Injunction Upheld

On February 16, 2015, as the result of a lawsuit filed by 26 states, a federal district court granted an injunction, preventing the implementation of DAPA and expanded DACA for the duration of the pending case challenging the legality of these two programs. The Fifth Circuit heard an appeal of that injunction in May 2015 and refused to remove it. Now, a three-judge panel from the Fifth Circuit has reaffirmed the injunction. The 135-page decision states that the U.S. district court made the correct decision and that the 26 states that are suing to block DAPA and the expansion of DACA would be harmed if the programs went into operation. Note that the original version of the DACA program is not impacted by this litigation and remains in effect.

Next Step

The injunction serves to maintain the status quo, pending the outcome of the legal challenge to DAPA and the expanded DACA. The Obama administration has indicated that it will appeal this decision to the U.S. Supreme Court.


This decision is deeply disappointing, but not unexpected. MurthyDotCom will continue to track this important case and provide updates as new developments occur.


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