Executive Action: Texas Court Decision – What does it mean?

Media reports are circulating regarding the injunction issued on the 2014 Executive Action, by the Honorable Judge Andrew Hanen  of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas, in Brownsville, Texas.

While the order will have an impact on the government’s ability to accept Expanded DACA applications on February 18, 2015 as planned, this order is not permanent.

In fact, immigrant advocacy groups have reported that a decision on Executive Action could potentially be made within the week by the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, potentially reversing the injunction.

Still, the question remains, what does this mean?

  1.                 The decision does NOT have any effect on those who were granted DACA as defined by Secretary Napolitano’s 2012 memorandum. Those initial requests and renewals will continue to be accepted regardless of what the final outcome of the Texas case is.
  2.                 The injunction is NOT a decision on the merits of the case. An injunction does not automatically overturn Executive Action, and is not final.
  3.                 Appeals will be filed by the Government to protect the Executive Action program, and the White House issued this statement today:

“The Department of Justice, legal scholars, immigration experts, and the district court in Washington, D.C. have determined that the President’s actions are well within his legal authority. Top law enforcement officials, along with state and local leaders across the country, have emphasized that these policies will also benefit the economy and help keep communities safe. The district court’s decision wrongly prevents these lawful, commonsense policies from taking effect and the Department of Justice has indicated that it will appeal that decision.”

                So what should you do? Continue to gather documents and prepare your cases as recommended by your immigration attorney. Also, if you qualify for the expanded DACA program under Executive Action, be aware that you cannot file your application this week.

Be aware of scammers who may say that they can file for you now.  Be educated, and know when a decision is made in this issue. This Judge’s decision is not a death sentence.

An experienced immigration attorney will be able to tell you when your case can be filed as per Executive Action.

Written by: Harlan York

Immigration Attorney Harlan York is Former Chair, Immigration Section, NJ State Bar Association and Former Co-Chair, NY State Bar Association CFLS Immigration Committee. Mr. York appeared on National Television on CBS This Morning with Charlie Rose and Primer Impacto on Univision, as well as Telemundo, NBC, and PBS. He was honored as First Ever Immigration Lawyer of The Year in NJ by Best Lawyers.

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