This is an update on President Obama’s new deferred action immigration programs proposed last November. These new deferred action programs would benefit certain parents of U.S. citizen or permanent resident children, and would expand the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program already in place. These new immigration programs have been on hold because of a federal court case that started shortly after the programs were proposed in November 2014. Recently, the Fifth Circuit Court agreed that these new programs must remain on hold until the judge reviewing the case makes a decision.

What’s Happening with this Litigation?

These new deferred action immigration programs have been blocked since states brought a court case against the government to stop these programs. This case was brought in December 2014 in the Southern District of Texas Federal Court. On February 16, 2015, Federal District Judge Andrew Hanen entered a preliminary injunction to stop President Obama’s proposed executive action programs during the case’s proceedings. A preliminary injunction means that the Judge has told the government that they are not allowed to start these new immigration programs until the Judge reaches a decision.

The government appealed the Judge’s injunction to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, a higher court with the power to overturn the Judge’s order. The government did this to see if this higher court would allow the government to move forward with the new immigration programs. On May 26, 2015 the Fifth Circuit Court reviewed the lower court’s injunction that is stopping the new immigration programs. The Fifth Circuit Court decided that the injunction is allowed and that it will remain in place until the lower court has decided the case.

What does this mean for those Waiting for the New Deferred Action Programs?

This decision means that the government cannot offer these new deferred action immigration programs now. Instead, the government must wait at least until Judge Hanen has made a decision on the case. For those waiting for these new immigration programs, it means that they must continue to wait.  The government is not permitted to offer these programs because of the Court’s order.

Court litigation can often take a long time, and this new development means that it could take many more months before a decision is reached. I remain optimistic that this case will ultimately be successful.

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