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Some lives in holding pattern

Advocates focus on outreach as DAPA in limbo

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Posted: Saturday, March 14, 2015 10:15 pm

The United States government will be in federal court in Brownsville again this week to answer for extended stays it granted undocumented immigrants prior to U.S. District Court Judge Andrew S. Hanen’s temporary injunction order on Feb. 16.

The Department of Homeland Security said ahead of the expansion of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals that applications would not be processed until Feb. 18, but attorneys for the government will answer for some 100,000 three-year passes DHS gave to applicants prior to Hanen’s ruling during a hearing March 19.

While the original DACA program, which began in 2012, continues to operate, it grants two-year stays to undocumented immigrants who arrived as children, graduated high school and have not been convicted of any serious crimes.

Hanen’s order halted the broader expansion of DACA, but it also has put off the rollout of a similar program that allows parents of American-born children to pursue temporary status without fear of deportation.

Deferred Action for Parental Accountability, or DAPA, has the potential to change college prospects for thousands of U.S. citizens in the Rio GrandeValley who cannot qualify for federal student aid packages because their parents don’t have legal status.

While some activists have protested Hanen’s ruling, groups like Valley Interfaith are continuing to educate the public about the programs with the goal of having applicants ready in case a temporary stay is granted.

The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, which would handle any appeal of Hanen’s verdict, is expected to keep the program in place, but many anticipate the lawsuit, filed by 26 states and led by Texas, will reach the U.S. Supreme Court.

 

tjohnson@brownsvilleherald.com

A more complete version of this story is available on www.myBrownsvilleHerald.com.

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