The Department of Homeland Security has put the brakes on hiring and other efforts to lay the groundwork for executive amnesty in the wake of a federal judge’s injunction on the new programs, according to The Washington Post.
In February U.S. District Court Judge Andrew Hanen halted implementation of President Obama’s November-announced executive amnesty programs — Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) — ruling in favor of the 26 states challenging the actions.
Since that February ruling, while the administration has pressed to have the injunction lifted, according to the Post, it has also put hiring plans for the programs on hold, including stopping efforts to hire up to 3,100 new employees who would have worked in a $7.8 million-a-year building in Arlington, Virginia’s Crystal City. The building is largely unused now, DHS employees told The Post.
As the newspaper reports, the administration “immediately began” to implement executive amnesty after Obama announced the actions in November — including leasing that 280,000 Crystal City building to house the new employees that would have been hired to prepare for implementation and begin processing applications for executive amnesty.
In terms of cost, The Post notes that the building needed some $26 million in upgrades to be operational, a price tag that was to be covered by fees paid by immigrants applying for other programs. In all, once up and running, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services estimated the programs would end up costing $484 million annually and expected the cost would be covered by the amnesty applicants’ fees.
The effort was halted with Hanen’s ruling.
“[E]verything is on hold,” The Post quoted Kenneth Palinkas, president of the union representing 12,000 USCIS employees, National Citizenship and Immigration Services Council 119.
“It’s kind of come to a screeching halt,’’ Marielena Hincapie, executive director of the pro-amnesty National Immigration Law Center, told The Post.
While the administration appears to have suspended its implementation, immigration activists are still working to prepare illegal immigrants to apply for the programs should they be allowed to move forward.