Only a few days before hundreds of thousands, or perhaps millions, of undocumented immigrants would have become eligible to apply under the expansion of certain immigration programs, a federal judge in Texas issued a temporary injunction that prevents the federal government from processing applications. The injunction was issued as part of a lawsuit in which 26 states sued the federal government, alleging that President Obama’s expansion of existing immigration programs would cause them significant and irreparable economic harm by having to expend tax dollars to accommodate undocumented immigrants.
Last fall, President Obama issued an executive order allowing for the creation of a new immigration program called Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA), as well as an expansion of an existing program, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). Under the DACA program, young people who came to the US as children could apply for a status known as “deferred action.” Under this status, immigrants who entered the country before June 2007 and before their 16th birthday could obtain work permits and exemptions from deportation lasting for two years. Applicants must also be under age 31. The expansion of DACA would eliminate the age-31 requirement and move the 2007 cutoff to 2010.