This past Monday, February 16th, a federal district court in the Southern District of Texas issued a ruling that will temporarily block portions of the President’s November immigration actions.
These include the implementation of the Deferred Action for Parents (DAPA) program and the expansion of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. While the ruling will suspend the implementation of these programs that would keep families together and allow people to live out of the shadows, this is only the first step in the legal process. The federal government will appeal the decision, hoping to overturn the district court ruling so these vital programs can be fully implemented.
Some of the major effects of this ruling include:
Continued debate on Department of Homeland Security (DHS) funding.
- Congress is still at a gridlock concerning the DHS spending bill which will expire on February 27th. Senate Democrats are still united in calling for passing a ‘clean’ DHS bill which would not have harmful immigration riders attached to the House-passed bill. Some speculate that the Texas ruling could increase Republican opposition to a clean DHS spending bill; however, experts have not seen a definitive plan by Senate Republicans on how they plan to move the funding bill forward.
Continued threats to family unity and stability.
- Family is the basic building block of strong communities. Temporarily suspending these programs means that families will continue to live under the threat of deportation and separation. Millions of families who have waited for the chance to live without the constant fear of deportation and for the opportunity to more fully participate in our communities and congregations will continue to wait in a dangerous limbo while the courts decide this case.
- The temporary suspension of these programs also affects the number of children eligible for the newly-created in-country processing program which was established to help children from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras find safety in the United States as refugees. Under this program, a parent with lawful presence in the United States (including DACA or DAPA) can apply for their children who meet certain eligibility criteria to be admitted to the United States as refugees. Without DACA or DAPA, however, these parents will be unable to access this program.
This ruling threatens the values of family unity and protecting the vulnerable that are central to our faith. We must continue to show support for the President’s November actions and the relief and protection they will provide to millions of members of our communities and congregations.
Please join us by visiting LIRS’s Action Center to send a message to your Member of Congress, encouraging them to support the families affected by this decision.
Photo Credit: jvoves