obama immigration appeal
The Department of Justice appealed a 5th Circuit Court decision in Texas v. U.S. that effectively halted U.S. President Barack Obama’s signature deferred action policies. The appeal was welcomed by pro-immigrant groups who are protesting today on the 1-year anniversary of Obama announcing DAPA and expanded DACA, the policies protested by Texas in the suit. Above: Obama answers questions in a town hall meeting at Taylor's University in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia November 20, 2015, before attending the ASEAN summit meeting. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

Pro-immigration groups welcomed the Obama administration’s quick appeal of a judicial ruling that shut down his executive actions on immigration. In what experts describe as a legal marathon, the Department of Justice delivered the appeal about 20 days earlier than needed, hoping that the case will be heard and decided before Obama leaves office. The lawsuit could affect as many as 5 million people eligible for Deferred Action for Parental Accountability (DAPA), a White House program that leveraged prosecutorial discretion to offer deportation relief to some immigrants in the country illegally.

“We believe ultimately that we are on the right side of the law,” said Nora Preciado, a staff attorney at the National Immigration Law Center in a call to the Latin Times, adding that the one-week turnaround by the DOJ was “really speedy.”

Dozens of Republicans governors oppose DAPA, arguing that giving undocumented immigrants legal status would cost them money. In the lawsuit, the State of Texas argued that it would have to pay for driver’s licenses.

The DOJ countered, saying that the state would gain much more than it would lose on driver's liscences with increased revenue. However, the 5th Circuit Court rejected the DOJ argument, saying that it could not participate in "accounting."

Supporters of the President’s plan include human rights groups, Latino advocacy organizations and labor unions.

“We applaud the Department of Justice’s swift action to defend the president’s immigration initiatives,” said Rocio Saenz, SEIU’s Executive Vice President, in a statement. “The hope of millions of American families is once again renewed as the road to the Supreme Court begins. We strongly urge the high court to accept the DOJ’s request and uphold justice for so many communities who long to come out of the shadows of ‘undocumented.’”

The suit, upheld by the 5th Circuit Court of appeals, also argues that the President should have asked for public comment on what opponents say was a clear policy change. The Supreme Court’s ruling could set a precedent for executive orders in other quarters, affecting everything from environmental law to foreign aid.

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