On Monday, February 16, 2015, U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen in Brownsville, Texas, issued an order that temporarily stops the implementation of President Obama’s executive action on immigration, which could grant deferred deportation to up to five million immigrants who are in the U.S. illegally, and provide them with Employment Authorization Documents. Specifically, this ruling will temporarily stop deferred action for parents of US citizens (“DAPA”), and the extended deferred action for childhood arrivals (“extended DACA”), which would remove certain age limits and grant other benefits to individuals who entered the USA as children.
However the original DACA, which allows undocumented immigrants who came to the country as children before 2007 to stay and work legally, remains intact and in in force, as does the Priority Enforcement Program, which deports criminal aliens as a first priority over non-criminal undocumented aliens.
The application process was supposed to begin today, February 18, 2015. However the issuance of this order temporarily stops its implementation until the questions of the constitutionality of President Obama’s executive actions are decided. The federal government has already announced that it will appeal the decision to the US 5th Circuit Court of Appeals within the next few days. The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals can then decide to either allow the injunction and let the case move forward to a trial or reverse Judge Hanen’s findings and remove the temporary stay.
The White House said in a statement Tuesday that Obama’s actions “are well within his legal authority.” “The district court’s decision wrongly prevents these lawful, commonsense policies from taking effect,” the White House said in a statement. “The Supreme Court and Congress have made clear that the federal government can set priorities in enforcing our immigration laws — which is exactly what the President did when he announced commonsense policies to help fix our broken immigration system.”