Federal Judge in Texas Temporarily Blocks Obama's Immigration Actions; What'll Happen to Tucson Sanctuary Cases?

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Francisco Perez Cordova left sanctuary thanks to Obama's immigration action for undocumented parents. - MARIA INÉS TARACENA
  • Maria Inés Taracena
  • Francisco Perez Cordova left sanctuary thanks to Obama's immigration action for undocumented parents.

Late Monday, a federal judge in Texas temporarily blocked President Obama's November immigration actions: one gave parents of U.S. citizens and legal resident's children a work permit and deportation relief for three years, and the other extended Obama's 2012 program for undocumented immigrants brought here as children, known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (the action got rid of age restrictions and extended the renewable program from two years to three years).

Those who qualified for the extended DACA program, among them Rosa Robles Loreto's two children— Robles Loreto has been living in sanctuary at Southside Presbyterian Church for six months—were supposed to start sending their applications to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services tomorrow. 

During an interview I had a few weeks ago with Robles Loreto's attorney, Margo Cowan, and Southside's the Rev. Alison Harrington, both were excited for Robles Loreto's children, Gerardo, Jr. and José Emiliano, to apply for the program, both so that they could have protection in the country, and because they thought this might be able to help resolve Robles Loreto's case. The two said that it made no sense to extend protection for DACA children, but not protect their parents. 

Supporters of Robles Loreto and her family had been invited to a press conference tomorrow prior to dropping off her two kids' DACA applications. That is still happening:
Please join us tomorrow when we launch the We Stand with Rosa campaign. Come to Southside at noon and get your sign. We are still hoping that Rosa's sons will be filing their DACA applications very soon despite the fact that a judge issued an injunction on the deferred action stemming from November 20. 
Another Tucson sanctuary case, Francisco Perez Cordova (who lived at St. Francis United Methodist Church for three months until he left Dec. 24), got his case closed thanks to the protection granted to parents. Perez Cordova has five U.S. citizens children, and the program, which is known as DAPA, is what allowed him to go home to his family without fearing deportation. His case is closed for now, but parents like Perez Cordova may not be able to apply for the program—applications could be sent starting mid-to-late May—if the block isn't struck down.

Judge Andrew Hanen issued the temporary injunction to allow a coalition of 26 states, among them Arizona, to proceed with a lawsuit seeking to gut Obama's immigration actions. 

It already was announced that this decision will be appealed, and we might hear news of that as soon as later today.

The American Civil Liberties Union sent a response at midnight today and Cecillia Wang, director of the American Civil Liberties Union Immigrants' Rights Project, had this comment:
Despite its extreme and inflammatory rhetoric, the Texas court decision does not explicitly hold that DAPA, DACA, or any other part of the federal government's executive actions, is unconstitutional.

The decision is very narrow, holding only that the federal government may have failed to follow procedural requirements before implementing Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) and the expansion of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).

While this setback is serious and should be redressed in due course, the government's other reforms to protect civil liberties and immigrant communities — including the fundamental principle that the Department of Homeland Security may set priorities for immigration enforcement and exercise prosecutorial discretion — ​remain in place.

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