Texas judge blocks launch of immigration program



From left, Sen. Ted Cruz, Gov. Greg Abbott, Attorney General Ken Paxton and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick talk about President Obama's immigration executive order at a news conference at the Capitol on Wednesday Feb. 18, 2015 in Austin, Texas. (Jay Janner/Austin American-Stateman/TNS)

Jenan Taha, Feature & Arts Editor

Following President Obama’s immigration reform policy of November 2014, Texas Federal Judge Andrew Hanen issued an injunction on February 16 to temporarily block the new immigration program from launching, hindering roughly 5 million illegal residents from working legally in the U.S.

The lawsuit was supported by 25 other states, which attempted to sue the executive branch for its actions. The program, Deferred Action for Parental Accountability (DAPA), is a revised version of the 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), and allows the illegal parents of legal residents to avoid deportation and work legally. President Obama extended the immigration policy after Congress failed to create an appropriate immigration reform bill. Although it was within the President’s executive power to do so, many republicans and supporters of the injunction disagree, claiming that Obama exceeded his legal power and acted unilaterally and unconstitutionally.

“Judge Hanen’s decision rightly stops the President’s overreach in its tracks,” Texas Governor Greg Abbott said.

Judge Hanen stated that the reason for his decision was that the president did not “follow proper legal procedures,” and enacted the program too quickly, without giving the opposition time to review it.

However, supporters of the program have validated that the president’s actions were within lawful boundaries.

“The Supreme Court and Congress have made clear that the federal government can set priorities in enforcing our immigration laws-which is exactly what the President did when he announced commonsense policies to help fix our broken immigration system,” White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said. “The district court’s decision wrongly prevents these lawful, commonsense policies from taking effect and the Department of Justice has indicated that it will appeal that decision.”

The injunction ruling came just two days before the program was to begin. Residents who were eligible must now wait for a second ruling from a higher court to decide their fate. 

The White House is determined to appeal to the Supreme Court and continue its original plans for the program.

“The Department of Homeland Security will continue with the planning because we want to make sure that as soon as these legal issues get resolved — which I anticipate they will, in our favor — that we are ready to go,” President Obama said.