Immigrants' rights attorneys expect that the "extremist" and "unnecessary" temporary injunction issued on President Barack Obama's immigration executive actions will be lifted. 

Attorneys who authored the amicus brief opposing the Texas vs. U.S. lawsuit to stop the expansion of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Deferred Action for Parental Accountability (DAPA) programs stated that undocumented immigrants should not be deterred by a Texas' judge's decision to temporarily halt opportunities to avoid deportation.

In the Texas vs. U.S. lawsuit, currently led by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, a coalition of 26 states want to block Obama's immigration executive actions that would temporarily defer deportation for approximately 4.9 million undocumented immigrants. According to Paxton, Obama's immigration executive action is a "blatant case of overreach and clear abuse of power."

On late Monday night, Judge Andrew Hanen of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas' Brownsville Division issued a temporary injunction on the deferred action programs. As a result, the Obama administration cannot implement the expanded DACA or DAPA programs until he issues a final verdict. The Obama administration can also issue a stay to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals or the U.S. Supreme Court for the deferred action programs to continue.

To counter the Texas vs. U.S. lawsuit, several immigrant rights groups filed an amicus on Dec. 29, 2014, and in support of the immigration executive actions. During a press call, National Immigration Law Center Executive Director Marielena Hincapié acknowledged Judge Hanen's decision "is temporary." She added immigrants and their families should not be afraid about the temporary injunction and claimed the intention of the Texas vs. U.S. lawsuit is to create fear for people.

"We are confident, as are the majority of legal scholars across the country, that the injunction will be lifted," Hincapié said, adding the federal court in Brownsville put the lives of immigrants temporarily on hold and the decision was "unnecessary."

Although Hanen temporarily blocked DACA and DAPA, Hincapié said his decision does not affect Obama's policies on border security. American Immigration Council (AIC) Legal Director Melissa Crow acknowledged Hanen's temporary injunction was a result of finding the U.S. government failed to provide a technical aspect of the Administrative Procedure Act. Crow, however, found it interesting Hanen "actually affirmed the authority" of U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Jeh Johnson to dictate the agencies prioritization authority.

As Latin Post reported, Obama's immigration executive action also provided the DHS to clarify procedures and policies on prioritizing deportations of individuals with the aim to improve focus on national security threats by people with criminal convictions or recent unlawful entrants.

Crow stated the temporary injunction was granted because Hanen found "standing" in Texas' claim its economy would be affected with the deferred action programs. Crow, however, said Texas would have a positive economic effect with the executive actions. According to the White House, the U.S. is projected to gain a minimum of $90 billion by 2024 with the immigration executive actions, or $210 billion "with plausible upper-bound projection." In Texas, the White House estimated $8.2 billion for Texas' GDP growth by 2024 with the implementation of the executive actions.

"We continue to believe the president and the agency are well within the balance of their authority in their issuance of the directive," Crow said.

Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Associate General Counsel Debbie Smith called Hanen's temporary injunction an "extremist" opinion and an attack on the long-standing authority to decide how law enforcement should enforce the law. Smith said families preparing for DACA or DAPA "should not panic" and should keep preparing for the deferred action programs. Smith believes the temporary injunction is a "time out" and a "bump in the road" in the process.

"We do think that the suspension is temporary, it's not the end," Smith said.

The SEIU associate general counsel recognized that the 26 states seeking to block the immigration executive actions are represented by Republican attorney generals and governors and undocumented immigrants do not heavily populate those states. Hincapié mentioned the 26 states include states that have passed anti-immigrant and anti-worker legislations. Meanwhile, Hincapié referenced states with heavy undocumented immigrant populations, such as California and New York, have taken an opposite approach and have welcomed the executive actions.


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