There has been a lot of talk in the media about a judge’s decision to overturn one of President Obama’s executive actions on immigration. Much of this talk in the media has become politicized which can distort the facts. We’ll look at the entire situation as an immigration attorney in Greensboro, NC so you can understand what has actually happened and what that might mean for you.
The President of the United States, President Obama, has made many executive actions on immigration. An executive action is an informal action on a certain subject or policy. It is much like a strong request. It’s not legally binding, but the action itself carries weight. An executive action is different from an executive order. An executive order is recorded and binding, although an executive order can be overturned by congress or judges.
In November 2014 President Obama issued an executive action on immigration to expand the coverage of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals starting on February 18th, 2015. The action would affect people who had no lawful immigration status in the USA and were brought to the country as children. It would extend the deferment for removal action to three years instead of two. The executive action also updates the requirement that an applicant must have been living continuously in the USA since January 1st, 2010 instead of January 1st, 2007. It’s estimated that this executive action would have opened up the DACA up to around 5 million more people.
Two days before the update to the DACA was to take effect, Judge Andrew Hanen of Texas blocked the action. Judge Hanen is a judge in the United States for the Southern District of Texas which means that he has the power to halt the executive action. The extension of the DACA has taken place, meaning that the executive action has not gone into effect. The issue is beginning to get resolved at the moment.
What does this mean for you? It depends. If you were eligible to apply for the DACA before the executive action, then you can continue to apply for it. If the executive action would make you eligible to apply for DACA then you cannot apply for DACA. For anyone else, this ruling has little to no effect on your status or situation. This is a very good example of how executive actions by the President of the United States doesn’t always mean that the action will take place, it is best to plan for the policies that are already law instead of what might be law.