Things got all the more confusing for America's 11 million-plus undocumented immigrants when a federal judge on Monday blocked President Obama's recent executive actions to defer millions of deportations.
Citing an administrative technicality, the Texas judge issued a temporary injunction that stalls two programs Obama announced in November, largely in response to frustration over Congress' failure to enact any kind of comprehensive immigration reform.
One of the initiatives is an expansion of the administration's original Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which would allow undocumented immigrants older than 30 who came to the U.S. illegally as children to apply for deportation deferrals and work permits. The Department of Homeland Security was supposed to start accepting applications for the program this week, but has since postponed doing so, leaving an estimated 290,000 eligible applicants in the balance.
Obama's second program, which was set to go into effect this spring, would allow undocumented parents of U.S. citizens and green card holders who have lived in the U.S. for at least five years to apply for a 3-year deportation deferral. An estimated 3.7 million immigrants are expected to qualify.