(February 17, 2015, Los Angeles) – The Central American Resource Center Los Angeles (CARECEN) considers Texas federal judge Andrew Hanen’s ruling blocking President Obama’s DACA expansion and DAPA programs a temporary setback and will continue preparing to help thousands of immigrants apply for protection from deportation.
“The President’s programs are based on sound executive authority to allocate enforcement resources,” said CARECEN Executive Director Martha Arévalo. “This lawsuit is a cynical attack on immigrants, an effort to confuse and scare those who benefit from these programs, and a drive to separate immigrant families. CARECEN will continue preparing to implement the President’s executive action despite this decision. We encourage immigrants who qualify to continue gathering documents and preparing to come forward.”
This ruling, which allows a lawsuit by 26 states opposing Obama’s executive action to go forward in court, is the first step in a lengthy legal process. We believe the Obama administration will prevail on appeal. CARECEN will continue helping those who qualify under the existing DACA program and will be ready to help those who qualify under the new programs as soon as that occurs.
“The lawsuit has no effect on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program that has existed since 2012,” said CARECEN legal director Daniel Sharp. “People who have received DACA, or who applied based on the rules announced in 2012, remain eligible for deferred action.”
Obama’s two-year-old Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program grants protection from deportation and work permits to young people without status who arrived in the United States as children. The new Deferred Action for Parental Accountability (DAPA), announced last November, extends similar protections to parents of U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents. An announced extension of DACA also removes the upper age limit to receive DACA protection and extends work permits to three years. An estimated 5 million people could benefit from DAPA, and about half a million have received protection under DACA since it began in August 2012.
Judge Hanen’s ruling did not speak to whether President Obama’s programs are constitutional. It merely blocks them until the states’ lawsuit is heard. CARECEN believes the lawsuit delays the economic boost that DACA/DAPA could bring to states, including a $904 million increase in tax revenues from an estimated 1,214,000 newly legalized workers.
CARECEN has worked for 31 years to protect the rights and dignity of Central American and Latino immigrants in Southern California. Since its founding in 1983, when thousands of Central Americans were fleeing the brutality of civil war, CARECEN has worked to change unjust immigration policies, win legal status for immigrants, and foster community activism on issues such as education reform, workers and immigrant rights, economic justice and community strengthening.