AALDEF Marks One-Year Anniversary of Announcement of Expanded DACA and New DAPA Program

U.S. Supreme Court building.

U.S. Supreme Court building. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today is the first anniversary of President Obama’s announcement of the expansion of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and the creation of a new deferred action program for parents of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents who have been in the U.S. for at least five years (DAPA). Although implementation was to begin on Feb. 18, 2015 for expanded DACA and May 19, 2015 for DAPA, these deferred action initiatives have been blocked by a federal district court since February 16.  On Nov. 9, a divided panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit issued its long-delayed decision upholding the lower court’s hold on DAPA and expanded DACA.

To mark the occasion, Margaret Fung, executive director of the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF), said: "As a national civil rights organization that advocates for fair immigration policies, we believe the president's executive actions on immigration should take effect as soon as possible. These programs could provide relief from deportation and authorization to work for hundreds of thousands of undocumented Asian immigrants."

After the 5th Circuit decision, the Obama administration announced it would immediately appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. While the decision was not surprising, it paves the way for an expedited review by the Supreme Court.

Annie Wang, AALDEF staff attorney, said: "We agree with the dissenting judge on the 5th Circuit panel that the majority decision was a mistake. In the meantime, the original DACA program continues to transform the lives of undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children and qualify for protection from deportation and employment authorization."

AALDEF has provided legal assistance to Asian immigrant youth who may be eligible for DACA and plans to represent individuals who would have qualified under expanded DACA and DAPA. While the ongoing Texas lawsuit blocks the rollout of DAPA and expanded DACA, the 5th Circuit's recent decision does not affect the current DACA program, announced in June 2012, for which those who are eligible under the existing guidelines can continue to file initial or renewal requests (see DACA Fact Sheet and FAQs on DAPA and Expanded DACA).

NOTE: Individuals who believe they may qualify for the new DAPA and expanded DACA initiatives should start obtaining documents in anticipation of the eventual lifting of the hold on these programs and should be wary of individuals who seek to charge fees by claiming that they can help file DAPA or expanded DACA cases now.