Many of our current and prospective immigration clients, eligible for the extended DACA and new DAPA programs, have been asking about the status of President Obama's Immigration Executive Order. These new programs to which I am referring are among a series of immigration executive actions initiated by Obama on November 20, 2014 which would essentially spare from deportation as many as 5 million people living in the United States illegally and allow them to obtain employment authorization in addition to other benefits. Although USCIS was tentatively scheduled to begin accepting DAPA applications in May of 2015, a United States District Judge in Brownsville, Texas issued a preliminary injunction which essentially placed a hold on these executive actions.
A court hearing date of April 17, 2015 has been officially set during which time a decision will be rendered as to whether or not the temporary hold on the Immigration Executive Order will be lifted. The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans stated that each side will have an hour to make their arguments about the injunction during that April hearing. Although the issue at hand is whether Obama's executive action was constitutional, it is critical to highlight that the White House has unequivocally stated that President Obama acted well within his constitutional rights to set forth the Executive Orders regarding the extended DACA and newly formulated DAPA Immigration Regulations.
Noteworthy is the fact that the politically-motivated lawsuit was initiated at the request of 26 Republican-led States who opposed President Obama's immigration executive action. Fortunately, New Jersey was not one of the States involved in the lawsuit. Interestingly, the Justice Department attorneys said that if the injunction is not lifted, it should only apply to Texas or to the 26 States that sued. As such, clients currently residing in New Jersey may likely not be affected at all by the outcome of the April 17th hearing, suggesting that even if the temporary hold is not lifted, they will still be able submit applications, as long as they meet full eligibility requirements.
In anticipation of the programs' eventual roll-out, our team at the Shulman Law Group, LLC has been advising clients to start preparing for the application process, with includes gathering all of the necessary proofs and documentation. We would like our clients to be at the front of the line in terms of application submissions. We strongly encourage eligible candidates to schedule a consultation appointment as soon as possible in order to prepare a file and organize critical data so that we can send out the completed application once the government gives word that they are ready to accept applications.