The Department of Homeland Security announced Tuesday it will halt plans to begin implementing President Barack Obama’s plans to expand deferred action programs for millions of people living in the U.S. illegally, following a federal judge’s injunction late Monday.
Judge Andrew Hanen ruled that Texas has legal standing to challenge Obama’s executive action, which would provide work permits and other documents to millions here illegally, including the parents of citizens and lawful residents and those brought to the U.S. as children. He also issued an injunction preventing DHS from accepting applications for enrollment in the programs until the case, which includes 22 other states, is decided on the merits.
The White House said Tuesday it strongly opposed the decision, and the Department of Justice has promised to appeal. But in the interim, plans to begin accepting applications for the expansion of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program Wednesday are on hold, DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson said in a statement. Additionally the department will hold of on accepting applications for the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) program.
“I strongly disagree with Judge Hanen’s decision to temporarily enjoin implementation of Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) and expanded Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA),” Johnson said in a statement. “The Department of Justice will appeal that temporary injunction; in the meantime, we recognize we must comply with it.”
“We fully expect to ultimately prevail in the courts, and we will be prepared to implement DAPA and expanded DACA once we do,” he added.
Hanen’s order does not affect the 2012 DACA program which provided deferred action for millions of people brought to the U.S. illegally as children. Obama sought to expand that program to more arrivals. It also does not affect Johnson’s November order to the department to prioritize criminal and national security deportations, instead of those who would be covered by the DACA and DAPA programs.