[Update -November, 2015: the DAPA program remains on hold, after the Fifth Circuit agreed with he district court that the states had standing to challenge it. The Department of Justice has asked the Supreme Court to review that decision. We are waiting to hear whether the Supreme Court will agree.]
As most now know, the President’s deferred action plan for parents who have been present in the United States and have not committed certain crimes has hit a roadblock. A federal judge in Texas has put the program on hold as he weighs whether the plan will have a negative impact on Texas and other states.
We continue to get calls at least once a week about when DAPA is going to happen. The short answer is that nobody knows. You should not pay anyone money for a DAPA application (because as of today it doesn’t exist) and if anyone tells you they can fast-track your application or that they know when it’s going to happen, they’re mistaken.
Below, I’ll explain what “DAPA” is and what the current status is as far as well can tell.
What is DAPA?
In November, 2014 President Obama announced a new “Deferred Action” process “for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents.” The government’s flyer on the USCIS website still says the program is to be launched in “mid-to-late May of this year,” although that didn’t happen because of court intervention. Had it happened (or, if it happens in the future) it would permit eligible people to stay in the US and work, at least temporarily.
Although the final eligibility standard was not announced (because the program was halted by a Texas judge), it appeared to require applicants to
- Be the parent of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident.
- Continuously live in the U.S. since January 1, 2010.
- Be present in the U.S. on November 20, 2014 without status; and
- Not be convicted of certain criminal offenses.
What is the Current Status of DAPA?
DAPA is currently on hold – nothing can be filed at this time. Below is the timeline since Obama announced the program in November, 2014. A much longer explanation of the history of DAPA and the litigation that has followed is here:
July 10, 2015 – a second appeal to the Fifth Circuit was heard at oral argument. We are now awaiting a decision from the Fifth Circuit, which will likely decide the fate of the DAPA program. If the Administration loses, it could take its case to the Supreme Court, but a decision would not be expected until Spring of 2016, which would be so close to the next Presidential election (in November, 2016) that it is doubtful the program would be able to be implemented.
May 26, 2015 – the Obama administration lost its first appeal of the lower court’s decision not to stay its injunction.
Feb. 16, 2015 – Judge Hanen places the DAPA program on hold by issuing an “injunction.” The injunction stopped the implementation of DAPA and the President’s expansion of DACA. The Obama administration then filed two appeals – one over the court’s decision not to put its injunction on hold, and the second over whether the court should have ordered the injunction in the first place.
For now, there is no additional program or form to file. Anyone interested in the deferred action program announced by the president in November, 2014 should wait until there is more word on whether the program is actually going to be implemented.
[Updated October 5, 2015]