When President Obama announced his sweeping unilateral executive action on immigration last November, administration officials stressed that the new edict would not take effect immediately. One part of the president's action — changes to DACA, or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, to extend the period in which illegal immigrants are protected from deportation to three years from its present two years, and also to extend work permits for the same time — was scheduled to go into effect Feb. 18, 2015, three months after the president's announcement. The other part of the president's action — the newly-created DAPA, or Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents — would go into effect six months after Obama's edict.
The day after Obama's Nov. 20 announcement, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service published notice that it "expects to begin accepting requests for the Expanded DACA program on Feb. 18, 2015; and Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) program in mid-to-late May 2015."
The dates were set.
The administration's schedule shaped the schedule of those challenging the president's action. On Feb. 16, federal judge Andrew Hanen issued an order stopping the program, noting in his opinion that "the DHS' website provides February 18, 2015 as the date it will begin accepting applications under DACA's new criteria, and mid-to-late May for DAPA applications." Hanen barred the administration from implementing "any and all aspects or phases of the expansions (including any and all changes)" to DACA and also "any and all aspects or phases" of DAPA.
So everyone involved knew the score. Changes to DACA, which had been scheduled to start Feb. 18, were on hold. DAPA was also on hold. And everyone assumed those dates to be accurate.
But now, the administration is telling a different story.