How One Texas Judge Can Affect Your Life as an Immigrant

Like every other President before him, President Obama has issued a number of executive orders in his two terms in office. Some of them relate directly to immigration in America. One judge in Texas however put on hold the President’s entire plan, which was supposed to go into effect on Tuesday, February 17, 2015.

Here is what happened: 26 states (Tennessee among them) filed a lawsuit in December of 2014 arguing that the President’s executive order to push immigration reform without the approval of Congress was unconstitutional. A federal judge Texas ordered an injunction against the government, specifically prohibiting the President from putting in effect the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents portion of the plan. This part of the program would allowed undocumented immigrants to ask for a removal deferment if:

  • They have been in the country since 2010,
  • Were not considered an enforcement priority, and
  • Had a son or daughter who was a U.S. citizen or permanent resident as of last year.

The same injunction also stops any expansion of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, policy.

What this means for immigrants

The White House countered that the President was well within his legal rights to use an executive order to reform the immigration process – but officials know under the law that they must comply with the judge’s order. For now, the White House will “continue preparing to put Mr. Obama’s executive actions into effect but [will] not begin accepting applications from undocumented workers until the legal case [is] settled.” That means at a quarter of a million immigrants eligible to apply for a work permit and a deportation deferral under DACA will not be able to apply, and anyone else in this country illegally now faces deportation without any options to deferral. The lawsuit could take years to resolve.

If you are facing removal, or if you were brought here as a child, Nashville immigration lawyer Perry A. Craft can help you explore your options. Please contact our office to learn more.