Immigration Lawyer Explains What the Temporary Halt on Obama's Executive Action on Immigration Means

Immigration Lawyer Explains What the Temporary Halt on Obama's Executive Action on Immigration Means

By: Alexa Williams
NewsWest 9

A Federal Judge in Brownsville, Texas, has temporarily blocked President Obama's executive action on immigration. U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen's decision on Tuesday blocks Obama's orders that could grant deferred deportation to up to five million immigrants who are in the U.S. illegally.

"It's going to stop deferred action for parents and the extended deferred action for childhood arrivals which removed the age limitations and granted other benefits," Daniel Caudillo, an immigration lawyer, said.

The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals or DACA allows undocumented immigrants who came to the country as children before 2007 to stay and work legally. That goes untouched. Along with the Priority Enforcement Program, which deports serious illegal criminals first. The expansion, which is under fire, is the deportation ruling for those who entered before 2010.  

This ruling does not mean that Obama's actions are illegal. It's simply preventing the administration from implementing their executive action on immigration until the court rules if it's constitutional or not. The judge ruled that a lawsuit should proceed, and without a preliminary injunction,  states will suffer harm in this case. The decision gives a coalition of 26 states, led by Texas, additional time to pursue a lawsuit.

"There's a number of different legal actions that can take place after this. The federal government has already announced that they're going to appeal the decision. They're going to appeal to the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals. They could do so today and they are very likely to file that appeal in the next few days in order to get an emergency hearing," Caudillo said

The 5th Circuit of Appeals can then decide to either allow the injunction and let the case move forward to a trial or they can reverse Judge Hanen's findings and remove the temporary halt.

"The application process for expanded DACA was supposed to begin tomorrow on February 18. At this point, those applications are not going to be able to be accepted until further legal action is considered in the case," Caudillo said.

The White House issued a statement defending Obama's executive orders. They said the Supreme Court and Congress have already said federal officials can set priorities in enforcing immigration laws.

NewsWest 9 spoke with Congressman Mike Conaway Tuesday afternoon who said he's in full support of the ruling. "The court actually agrees with what the president said. More than 20 occasions he said that he didn't have the authority to do what he did and the court has now agreed with him. I think it's a step in the right direction. We'll see what happens next in the appeals process."