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On Monday, February 16, 2015, a federal judge issued a temporary injunction against the DAPA program and expanded DACA while he reviews the lawsuit filed by 26 states against the President's action. The Department of Justice has appealed the injunction. It may take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks for the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals to decide whether to uphold or dismiss the injunction. If the injunction is dismissed, the programs will proceed while the lower judge considers the original lawsuit. If the injunction is upheld, the programs will be halted during that time. It may take four to eight months for the lower judge to render a decision on the suit.

The injunction does not affect the DACA program that has been in effect for over two years. For DACA applicants, the injunction simply puts a halt to applications by people who were over age 30 on the date the previous DACA program was announced. They were supposed to be able to file their applications today, February 18, but will not be able to do so until further notice.

Those who are interested in the DAPA program were supposed to be able to start filing in mid-May of this year. That is still three months away. A lot can happen between now and then. Those who are interested in the DAPA program should continue to make advanced preparations for the program - for example by ordering official copies of vital records - but should not pay an attorney or other individual to prepare a case at this time. No money should be paid for a DAPA case other than a consultation fee to determine what all the possible options are for the person, including possible relief under a future DAPA program.

An injunction is an order to temporarily stop some activity while a court considers whether the activity should be allowed. Usually injunctions are only issued if the court, after a quick review of the case summary, thinks it will ultimately rule against the activity in question. In making a final decision, the court needs to thoroughly review testimony, evidence and case law. The decision of the federal judge to issue the injunction should not, however, automatically lead one to presume that the programs are ultimately doomed. The states filing the suit engaged in "forum shopping", meaning they intentionally picked the Southern District of Texas as the place to file the suit in the hopes that Judge Andrew Hanen would be assigned the case as he is known for anti-immigrant rulings. There is more than one judge per district and cases are randomly assigned to a judge within that district, so there was an element of luck involved in getting Judge Hanen assigned to the case. But the states filing the suit did, in fact, get lucky. Out of all the federal judges in the US, that's the one they wanted. One thing that should tell you is that their chances of winning an appeal might not be so great.

No decision has been made on whether the programs are legal. The injunction is merely a temporary stop while the court decides whether the programs are legal. In order to be allowed to file the suits, the person or group filing the suit (i.e. the plaintiffs), in this case 26 states, have to prove that they would be harmed by the programs. The legal term is "standing". A plaintiff must prove standing to file a suit. One of the issues in the case is whether the states have standing. They have alleged that the program would cost them millions of dollars in healthcare costs, public education costs, and administration of driver licenses. Sources indicate that even Judge Hanen wasn't impressed with the arguments regarding increases in healthcare and public education costs. (By "not impressed" I mean that he doesn't think the program will increase those costs to the states.) However, attention is being given to the argument that the programs will increase costs related to the administration and issuance of driver's licenses.

If the 26 states are able to prove that they would incur expenses related to driver licenses due to the program, that does not, in itself, void the program. That just allows them to establish standing so they can move forward with the suit. The argument for shooting down the program is that the President violated the Administrative Procedures Act by failing to post the proposed action in the Federal Register and allow a public comment period. Some have suggested that the President may resolve the issue by simply doing so now if the injunction is not dismissed. There is actually very little - perhaps nothing - in the suit that could completely end the program. The suit is a delay tactic.

In opposition to the suit, 13 states have filed suit joining the President in defense of the programs. In addition to those states, many cities have joined the 13 states, including some cities located inside the 26 states that have filed suit opposing the programs. For example, the State of Texas has joined the suit opposing the programs, while the City of Houston has joined the suit supporting the programs. While there are double the number of states opposing, there are more unlawfully present immigrants in the states supporting the programs. So the states with more immigrants are the ones saying the programs will help, rather than hurt, the American public.

In the meantime Congressional Republicans continue threatening to "defund" the program by cutting the funding for the Department of Homeland Security. Apparently they still don't understand that USCIS is a self-funded agency and that the primary effect of cutting funding to DHS would be a lapse in border security and a halt in deportations.