On April 17, 2015, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals heard oral arguments on the Preliminary Injunction stopping President Obama’s DAPA and expanded DACA programs. While some people believe that the April 17th hearing will decide the ultimate fate of the DAPA and expanded DACA programs, the Court is only addressing the current preliminary injunction imposed by Texas and the other plaintiff states.

A preliminary injunction is merely a tool used by courts to delay a matter until a full hearing on the merits can be heard. In this case, the plaintiff states have imposed a preliminary injunction to delay the start of DAPA and expanded DACA so that the Texas court can address the legal issues raised concerning the programs.

The plaintiff states concede that President Obama has the power to decide which removal cases will be prosecuted. They argue, however, that he does not have the power to confer a benefit without going through the proper procedure.  Specifically, the plaintiff states allege that the Obama Administration failed to comply with the Administrative Procedure Act.  Furthermore, the plaintiff states believe that President Obama is conferring a benefit to potential DAPA and expanded DACA recipients by granting work authorization and legal status. Finally, plaintiff states alleged that DAPA and expanded DAPA are not exercises of prosecutorial discretion. Rather, these programs are “rubber stamp” policies implemented under the guise of prosecutorial discretion.

The Obama Administration, however, argues that it is not granting legal status to undocumented immigrants because the Government can change its decision to not prosecute DAPA and DACA recipients whenever it wants. Also, the Obama Administration states that permitting undocumented immigrants to obtain work authorization is a benefit that was approved by Congress long ago. Additionally, the Obama Administration indicated that the programs are an exercise of discretion because many DACA applicants received requests for additional information.

The 5th Circuit has not revealed when it will issue its decision concerning the Preliminary Injunction. However, the losing side will likely appeal the decision. Ultimately, the legal issues raised about DAPA and expanded DACA programs will probably end up before the Supreme Court.  It seems that hopeful DAPA and expanded DACA recipients face an uncertain path ahead of them.  But the journey is far from hopeless with the overwhelming support shown by 15 states including the District of Columbia, many pro-immigration reform organizations, and the immigration community.