U.S. Rep. Tony Cárdenas, D-Calif., and Rep. Luis Gutiérrez. D-Ill., will host a forum this weekend to discuss President Barack Obama's immigration executive actions despite the temporary injunction blocking the deferred action programs' implementation.

The workshop, emanating from Cárdenas' San Fernando Valley district in California, is expected to notify immigrants and families if they are eligible for the imminent immigration policy changes created by Obama. Specifically, the undocumented immigrants attending the forum will have the opportunity to understand the requirements for the expanded Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Deferred Action for Parental Accountability (DAPA) programs, which were announced by Obama last Nov. 20.

Obama's executive actions could temporarily defer deportation for nearly 4.9 million undocumented immigrants currently in the U.S., specifically before Jan. 1, 2010, and pending a criminal background check and payment of fines and taxes. Obama's executive action expanded DACA for applicants to receive a renewable three-year stay instead of two years. Parents of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents who have been in the country since Jan. 1, 2010, can request deferred action and employment authorization for three years as part of the DAPA program.

"Thanks to President Obama, millions of the people who work so hard as we rebuild this nation's economy will have a chance to stay and continue to do exactly that," said Cárdenas in a statement. "It is important that everyone who wants to stay here understands exactly what will be required of them. I am so pleased that my colleague, Luis Gutiérrez, will be helping me with this timely and important task."

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Gutiérrez has been on a national tour promoting Obama's immigration executive actions. During a previous tour stop in New Jersey, Gutiérrez said the immigration debate "is the civil rights movement of our time." He said in January, "This is our Selma and we will walk, we will march, we will be arrested, we will do anything and everything it takes to make sure families are protected in this nation."

An ongoing lawsuit, however, has temporarily blocked DAPA and the extended DACA program from going into effect. Twenty-six U.S. states, led by Texas, have sued to block DACA and DAPA. U.S. District Court Judge Andrew Hanen of the Southern District Of Texas' Brownsville Division ruled in favor of the 26 states pending further hearings with the U.S. Department of Justice. On March 12, the Obama administration has filed an appeal to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals to lift the temporary injunction, but the appeals court denied the administration's request for an immediate lift of the ban. A hearing is scheduled about the immigration executive action lawsuit in Texas on Thursday.

Despite the lawsuit, Cárdenas and Gutiérrez noted they are confident the court will rule in Obama's favor and future applicants should still use the time to prepare their documents once the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services agency launch the programs.

The Cárdenas and Gutiérrez immigration forum is scheduled for March 21 from Panorama High School in Panorama City, California.


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