After a federal judge ruled to issue a preliminary injunction to block the implementation of two of the most critical components of President Obama’s executive actions–the Deferred Action for Parents of US Citizen and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) and the expansion of the DACA program for illegal immigrants who entered the US before the age of 16–the Obama Administration filed a request for an emergency stay of the injunction on February 23, 2015. On March 9, 2015, Judge Hanen declined to rule on the emergency stay.
Even though the future of the new DAPA and DACA programs is in question, the Obama Administration has moved forward with other provisions of the executive actions. This can be seen most significantly under a November 2014 policy memorandum establishing new priorities for the apprehension, detention and removal of those living in the US in unauthorized status. The Obama administration will focus on those who are convicted felons, gang members, and those considered a national security threat. Those who entered the US prior to January 2014, were issued a final order of removal before January 2014 or have not been convicted of a serious crime will not be priorities for removal.
In the next few months, the Obama Administration is expected to take further actions to implement the executive actions announced in November of last year. These include the expansion of those eligible for the I-601 provisional waiver and expanding opportunities for immigrants in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields and immigrant entrepreneurs.