A federal judge has put a stop to the implementation of President Barack Obama's immigration reform policies, outlined in two executive orders, delaying them due to a lawsuit filed by 26 states. The temporary injunction by Andrew S. Hanen of the Federal District Court for the Southern District of Texas, came less than 48 hours before some immigrants, namely those who came to the U.S. as a child, could apply for protection from deportation. The policy, announced as part of the president's controversial executive orders on immigration, is an extension of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
"We may be delayed, but we will not be deterred," said U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D, IL-4) of the injunction stalling the immigration policies. "In our neighborhoods, this is about defending families and making sure that children who are U.S. citizens grow up with their parents. It is that simple. And there is a great deal of passion and determination in the fight to defend families. I am telling immigrant communities to keep preparing to sign up millions of families for protection from deportation."
The president's immigration executive orders also set out to shield undocumented parents of children with legal status from deportation for three years, in addition to extending deferred action to undocumented immigrants who came to the United States as children and were not covered under the original DACA program.
Obama's immigration reform plans were challenged shortly after the orders were signed last November when then-Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, who is now the state's governor, filed a lawsuit to block the actions, arguing, in part, that the policies will add an undue burden to state budgets. Texas' new Attorney General, Ken Paxton, kept the legal case going and 25 states later joined the suit including: Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, West Virginia and Wisconsin.
Judge Hanen found the states to have fulfilled the minimum requirements necessary to continue on with the lawsuit, adding that the Obama administration failed to follow the administrative rules required for installing such major policy changes. The Obama administration plans to appeal the injunction to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in New Orleans
"There is no good legal case to be made by the President's opponents and legislation the hardliners are putting forward in Washington is going nowhere," said Gutierrez of the executive orders' critics. "Politically and practically the idea of deporting or driving out 11 million people and their families is absurd. But a group of Republicans have not gotten the message that mass deportation and criminalization do not work and that getting people into the system and on-the-books is a more sensible approach. And to attach this to shutting down the Border Patrol, TSA, and Homeland Security when the threats are so real around the world is going to backfire big-time on Republican hardliners."