Judge Blocks Start of Immigration Actions

By Jacqueline Garcia, EGP Staff Writer

Shouting “Shame on you” and “Si se puede” (Yes, we can), immigrant rights activists, elected officials and union leaders rallied outside Los Angeles City Hall Tuesday to decry a federal judge’s ruling putting the president’s executive immigration orders on hold.

On Monday, U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen in Texas issued a ruling stalling President Obama’s executive orders, which would protect an estimated 4 million to 5 million immigrants living in the country illegally from deportation.

Hanen’s ruling was made in response to a lawsuit filed by 26 states to try to permanently stop the president’s orders.

Lea este artículo en Español: Juez Paraliza el Comienzo de la Acción Ejecutiva

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security announced it would delay implementation of the expanded Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program until further notice, putting the application process that was to have started Wednesday temporarily on hold. However, applications from people who qualify under the original DACA guidelines issued in 2012 will still be accepted.

“You know better, you are a judge, not the president,” Los Angeles Councilman Gil Cedillo said during the press conference at City Hall. He said it’s been well established that the president’s actions are “within his powers.”

Cedillo said Hanen and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott should review “what part of legal” they don’t understand. “Shame on you for failing to recognize the laws and this president. You should not engage in partisan politics,” Cedillo said.

The DACA expansion, which was set to start Wednesday, removes the 30-year age limit, allowing immigrants who came to the U.S. before Jan. 1, 2010, and were 16 or younger when they arrived, to apply for relief from deportation and authorization to work in the country legally.

According to the Pew Research Center, about 330.000 undocumented immigrants would benefit from the expansion.

Pro-immigrant rights groups, supporters and immigrant families gathered at L.A. City Hall Tuesday to express discontent with a Texas court decision halting executive actions on immigration.  (EGP photo by Jacqueline Garcia)

Pro-immigrant rights groups, supporters and immigrant families gathered at L.A. City Hall Tuesday to express discontent with a Texas court decision halting executive actions on immigration. (EGP photo by Jacqueline Garcia)

“We are really going to fight for our dreams, we are not giving up,” said Erica, who said expanding DACA would have allowed her to get in to the medical field.

The second part of the executive action, known as the Deferred Action for Parents Arrival (DAPA) —estimated to begin in May—also provides deportation relief and work authorization to parents of U.S. citizens or legal residents who have been in the country since 2010.

Norma Torres is undocumented and told EGP she was shocked by the judge’s action. She said she personally would have benefitted from DAPA, and she’s committed to keep fighting to make it happen.

“This is just an obstacle,” she said.

Representatives of the American Civil Liberties Union noted that the judge did not rule on the states’ assertion that the president’s immigration actions were unconstitutional. The judge only issued an injunction blocking their implementation while the lawsuit was pending.

“The decision is very narrow, holding only that the federal government may have failed to follow procedural requirements before implementing” the orders, according to Cecilia Wang, director of the ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project.

On Tuesday, the White House announced it plans to appeal the ruling. It will be heard by the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans.

“It doesn’t matter if it goes all the way to the Supreme Court,” said Angelica Salas, director of the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights Los Angeles, “We know that history is on our side. We know the law is on our side.”

She called on parents who will benefit because of a child’s legal status, to get them to register to vote if they are 17 or older.

“Have them vote for you, [in 2016] so that Republicans understand that they cannot attack our families,” she said.

In the meantime, pro-immigrant rights groups said people eligible for legal status under either of the orders should continue to prepare to apply. Make sure you have all the right documents, said Martha Arevalos, executive director of the Central American Resource Center (CARECEN).

The 26 states that are party to the lawsuit are Republican strongholds. The plaintiffs claim Obama’s executive action “violates the United States Constitution and federal law, circumvents the will of the American people and affront families and people who follow the laws to legally migrate.”

Legislators from those states have tried to block implementation in Congress with amendments to the appropriations bill to fund the Dept. of Homeland Security.

Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard (CA-40) said she is confident that the Texas decision will not stand, “But if the Republican leadership in Washington truly believes this court case will go their way in the end, they should stop holding hostage the funding bill for the Department of Homeland Security. There are only four legislative days left before funding runs out.”

Texas Gov. Abbott hailed the judge’s action.

“We live in a nation governed by a system of checks and balances, and the president’s attempt to bypass the will of the American people was successfully checked today,” Abbott said.

Rep. Xavier Becerra, D-Los Angeles, said he was still confident the immigration orders would be ultimately upheld.

“Round one is in. But one round doesn’t make a fight,” Becerra said. “Immigrant families are accustomed to the tough fight. We’ll get up tomorrow, push hard, stay strong and put our faith in the Constitution. Mark my words: The human spirit will prevail.”

Information from City News Service was used in this report.

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Twitter @jackieguzman

jgarcia@egpnews.com

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February 19, 2015  Copyright © 2012 Eastern Group Publications, Inc.

Comments

One Response to “Judge Blocks Start of Immigration Actions”

  1. Juez Paraliza el Comienzo de la Acción Ejecutiva : Eastern Group Publications/EGPNews on February 19th, 2015 2:01 pm

    […] Read this article in English: Judge Blocks Start of Immigration Actions […]

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