Federal Texas Judge Blocks Obama's Immigration Reform Orders

What will it mean to millions of illegal immigrants now that a federal judge in Texas has blocked executive actions by President Obama authorizing the expedited legalization of immigrants who are not U.S citizens?

In response to lawsuits filed by 26 states that objected to Obama's immigration policy which prohibited the deportation of illegal immigrants, U.S. District Judge Andrew S. Hanen said that "although he could not make a decision regarding the legality of the President's executive order, he could claim there was sufficient grounds to warrant the suspension of the order while the case progressed." Naturally, the White House immediately announced it would appeal Judge Hanen's ruling.

In a memorandum opinion issued February 15, Judge Hanen asserted that "No law gave the administration the power to give 4.3 million removable aliens what the Department of Homeland Security itself labels as 'legal presence,' In fact, the law mandates that these illegally-present individuals be removed."

Lawsuits filed by states claimed that Obama's executive immigration order unilaterally modifies federally mandated immigration law. In addition, state lawmakers claim that the order usurps Congress's power to enact laws while violating Obama's constitutional commitment to "take care that laws be faithfully executed". and adherence to the Administrative Procedure Act.

Immediate Impacts

Judge Hanen's ruling is expected to delay the processing of applications submitted by undocumented immigrants to avoid possible deportation as well as suspend expansion of President Obama's 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program which permits immigrants who initially arrived in the U.S. as children but can now legally apply for deferral of deportation. However, the 700,000 people who have already benefited from the DACA program will not be impacted by Judge Hanen's unexpected ruling.

Although a major, albeit temporary setback for the Obama administration, the President and the Department of Homeland Security retorted that the ruling was essentially worthless because it was "based on rhetoric instead of law".

Immigration advocates have been quick to project confidence that the U.S. Court of Appeals (5th Circuit) will overturn Judge Hanen's ruling and permit the DACA program to continue.

After filing a legal brief proclaiming support for the Obama administration, associate general counsel of Service Employees International Union Debbie Smith made the following statement: "Our message to our members and families who are preparing for deferred action is--don't panic. Keep preparing. We think this is just a timeout, a bump in the road."

In addition to threatening the ability of millions of undocumented immigrants to become legal U.S. citizens, House GOP members want to deny funding to the DHS in February, 2015 unless the funding bill includes a provision that will slash immigration orders. However, this amended bill will almost certainly be vetoed by President Obama, which ould then lead to a partial shutdown of the Department of Homeland Security.

If you would like more information about these new issues regarding immigration reform or immigration law, contact Jadoo & Zalenski, LLC today at 201.568.5510.

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  • New Immigration Policy For Dream Act Candidates
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  • Deferred Action Process for Young People (Ages 15 to 30)
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  • The Harlem Times attended Jadoo & Zalenski's office warming party. Click here to view photos from the event.

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