On Tuesday, the Department of Homeland Security announced that it will not accept new applications for President Barack Obama’s executive amnesty until the lawsuit against it is resolved.
The day after a federal judge issued an injunction against Obama’s executive amnesty, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said though he “strongly” disagreed with the ruling, the Obama administration will comply with it.
Illegal immigrants would have been eligible to apply for the expanded Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program on Wednesday while Obama’s temporary amnesty program for the parents of U.S. citizens was set to go into effect later in the year.
“The Department of Justice will appeal that temporary injunction; in the meantime, we recognize we must comply with it,” Johnson said in a statement. “Accordingly, the Department of Homeland Security will not begin accepting requests for the expansion of DACA tomorrow, February 18, as originally planned. Until further notice, we will also suspend the plan to accept requests for DAPA.”
Johnson said he believed the Obama administration will “ultimately prevail in the courts, and we will be prepared to implement DAPA and expanded DACA once we do.”
He noted that the court’s decision “does not affect the existing DACA” or renewals and does not “affect this Department’s ability to set and implement enforcement priorities.”
Because of the Obama administration’s lax enforcement priorities, Judge Andrew Hanen noted in his opinion that “there is no reason to believe” illegal immigrants waiting for Obama’s executive amnesty will be deported. But he said it would be “virtually impossible” to put the executive amnesty genie back in the bottle if he did not issue an injunction and a court later determined Obama’s executive amnesty to be illegal or unconstitutional.
“The situation is not such that individuals are currently considered ‘legally present’ and an injunction would remove that benefit; nor are potential beneficiaries of DAPA–who are under existing law illegally present–entitled to the benefit of legal presence such that this court’s ruling old interfere with individual rights,” Hanen reasoned. “It is far preferable to have the legality of these actions determined before the fates of over four million individuals are decided. An injunction is the only way to accomplish that goal.”