LatinoJustice Denounces Immigration Court Ruling

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 17, 2015

CONTACT: John Garcia, Director of Communications, 212-739-7513, 917-673-9095 or jgarcia@latinojustice.org.

Today’s decision by a federal court to issue a preliminary injunction that temporarily stops President Obama’s Deferred Action for Parental Responsibility (DAPA) executive order is an unfortunate delay in helping 5 million deserving, undocumented immigrants to come out of the shadows, according to LatinoJustice PRLDEF.

The injunction issued by Judge Andrew S. Hanen of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas in the case of Texas v. United States will temporarily prevent the Obama administration from moving forward with its executive actions on immigration while a lawsuit against the president works its way through the courts. While the injunction does not pronounce Obama's actions illegal, it prevents the administration from implementing them until the court rules on their constitutionality. The federal government is expected to immediately appeal the ruling.

Juan Cartagena, President and General Counsel of LatinoJustice PRLDEF said the decision was wrongly decided and now requires that the administration and the U.S. Department of Justice take immediate steps to secure a stay of the court’s order and vigorous pursuit of an appeal. LatinoJustice PRLDEF will work with its allies to pursue all necessary appeals, according to Cartagena.

The decision was decided on procedural issues – the Court ruled that administratively the President’s Executive order on DAPA order should have been subject to a notice and comment period.

The Court acknowledged the States’ arguments that the costs of processing millions of applications for driver’s licenses were significant. Inexplicably, the Court also accepted the argument that in stopping undocumented immigrants from getting federal authority to work it was protecting immigrants who were lawful permanent residents from employment discrimination.

“Today’s decision will not deter Latino communities and families from securing what is the inevitable and necessary action to integrate undocumented immigrants into America’s civic society and out of the shadows,” Cartagena said. “While the decision by this one federal court judge is subject to review, we will not forget that the underlying catalyst for the very real and continuing risk of deportation that otherwise law-abiding Latino families face on a daily basis lies with the governors of Texas, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and other states who joined in support of this misguided legal action.

“By needlessly standing in the way of clear and lawful federal authority to assist deserving Latino families whose members are undocumented come out of the shadows and be able to obtain employment authorization to work legally, these states have eagerly taken on the mantle of ‘states’ rights’ that had infamously became the rallying cry of many of these very same states to justify Jim Crow. It is a sad chapter in this country’s civil and human rights legacy when purported ‘state’ rights’ trumps, even temporarily, the goal of integrating undocumented Latino workers and families into the American tapestry,” he said. “The notion that Texas and Florida are now concerned about Latino lawful permanent residents and seeks to protect them from harm is news to the Latino community,” added Cartagena.

“It was America that lured them to our shores with its need for cheap labor. It is now America’s turn to recommit to helping them restore a sense of dignity as necessary U.S. workers under the protection of federal authority. This temporary setback in Texas v. United States will not stop Latinos from securing that prize,” Cartagena said.

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