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By: Kenneth S. Levine
On 2/15/2018 four (4) separate legislative bills that sought to address the March 5th termination of the DACA program, border security, family-based immigration and the Diversity Lottery were put up for a vote in the U.S. Senate. None of the bills garnered the necessary 60 votes to overcome a filibuster threshold and move the legislation to the House of Representatives. At this point it seems doubtful that any piece of legislation will pass Congress that addresses DACA recipients, a border wall, the elimination of family-based categories and the Diversity visa lottery.
As to the March 5th date on which the DACA program was set to terminate, within the last several weeks two Federal Judges in the U.S. District Court in California and New York issued nationwide injunctions that, for now, keeps the DACA program intact beyond the March 5th deadline. While the injunctions mean that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security must continue processing DACA renewal applications, the Judges are not requiring the Department to accept DACA applications from first time Applicants.
The latest major development on this issue is that the U.S. Supreme Court met on 2/16/18 to determine whether to accept a request from the U.S. Justice Department to take up the injunction cases. We expect their decision within the next few days. An affirmative decision means that the Court would essentially leapfrog the relevant U.S. Court of Appeals in determining whether the injunctions are legally valid. If the Supreme Court declines to accept immediate jurisdiction of the Justice Department’s appeals, then it will likely take 9-12 months for the 2nd and 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to render a decision. Whatever the result, constitutional law legal experts widely anticipate that the U.S. Supreme Court will ultimately decide this issue.
The Immigration Attorneys of Freeman Mathis & Gary, LLP strongly advise all current DACA recipients to consider filing renewal applications immediately. Although we do expect the DACA program to ultimately be terminated, those with pending renewal applications will likely be in a strong legal position to have their cases adjudicated.
For additional information related to this topic and for advice regarding how to navigate U.S. immigration laws you may contact Kenneth S. Levine of the law firm of Freeman, Mathis & Gary, LLP at (770-551-2700) or [email protected]