Civil and Human Rights

Obama’s executive order gets blocked and why that’s a disaster for thousands of Catholic families

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) – Obama’s executive actions on immigration would save millions of undocumented immigrants in the United States from deportation, which, according to the federal government, goes against the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), a law that controls how federal agencies establish regulations.


Many believe immigrants should accept job opportunities and enter the country legally, but Pope Francis has urged us again and again, to become a nation that accepts immigrants. 


The struggle between following the APA and Pope Francis is real. Many who disregard the pontiff’s pleas to help argue that everyone must adhere to the law, regardless of outside influence, and support the court’s decision.


Judge Jerry E. Smith and Judge Jennifer Elrod wrote the 70-page opinion, which in part read: “Reviewing the district court’s order for abuse of discretion, we affirm the preliminary injunction because the states have standing; they have established a substantial likelihood of success on the merits of their procedural and substantive APA claims; and they have satisfied the other elements required for this injunction.”


Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton released a statement, in which he said, “Today, the Fifth Circuit asserted that the separation of powers remains the law of the land, and the president must follow the rule of law, just like everybody else. 


“Throughout this process, the Obama Administration has aggressively disregarded the constitutional limits on executive power, and Texas, leading a charge of 26 states, has secured an important victory to put a halt to the president’s lawlessness.”


When Obama originally unveiled the then new policies, he was met with extreme opposition. However, the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) was enacted and 4.3 undocumented immigrants were suddenly eligible for work authorization and related benefits.


Obama’s executive actions expanded the program, the Deferred Action of Childhood Arrivals (DACA), which allows non-citizens who were brought to America as children to apply for work authorization and a three-year protection from deportation.


Before either program could go into effect, 26 states challenged them and were backed by Republican governors who argued the actions were unconstitutional and that the Obama administration violated the APA.


The President had made immigration reform his main second-term initiative and his administration is expected to appeal. 


Those who believe we should accept immigrants and find ways to help them build our economy have been open with their discontent concerning the court’s decision.


Karen Tumlin, a member of the National Immigration Law Center, said, “Immigrant families and their U.S. children have been waiting anxiously for the Fifth Circuit to rule. We urge the DOJ to immediately ask the Supreme Court to review this erroneous decision.”


Department of Justice spokesman Patrick Rodenbush sided with the President and was quite vocal about the ruling. “The Department of Justice disagrees with the Fifth Circuit’s adverse ruling on the appeal from the district court’s preliminary injunction. 


“The Department is committed to taking steps that will resolve the immigration litigation as quickly as possible in order to allow DHS (Department of Homeland Security) to bring greater accountability to our immigration system by prioritizing the removal of the worst offenders, not people who have long ties to the United States and who are raising American children.”


The chief counsel of the Constitutional Accountability Center, Elizabeth Wydra, filed a brief on behalf of a bipartisan group of former Congress members to support Obama’s administration, saying, “The 5th Circuit majority misunderstands the discretion given to the executive under existing immigration law which the Supreme Court itself has explicitly recognized.”


Meanwhile, DOJ lawyer Carolyn D. King wrote “There can be little doubt that Congress’s choices as to the level of funding for immigration enforcement have left DHS with difficult prioritization decisions. [However,] federal courts should not inject themselves into such matters of prosecutorial discretion.”


The presence of illegal immigrants in America is not to be condoned as it is, in name and action, illegal. However, the issue becomes complex when considering Pope Francis’ call to remember we are all “children of the same loving God. That makes us brothers and sisters despite the borders separating us. We need to be careful from erecting those same borders in our hearts.”

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