Obama Administration Makes Case for Immigration Executive Actions In Front of Appeals Court Today

The Obama administration today is going to try to persuade the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals to allow for the president's 2014 executive actions on immigration to move forward. A U.S. District Court Judge Andrew Hanen, based  in Texas, temporarily blocked them in February, while a lawsuit against the actions on behalf of 26 states gets a resolution in court.

The appeals court in New Orleans will hear oral arguments on whether the judge's block should stand or die off.

Applications for the extended Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals—a program for undocumented youth brought to the country as children—were supposed to begin making their way to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services in February, and signups for Deferred Action for Parents, which would grant parents of U.S. citizen or legal resident children a three-year work permit and permission to be in the country, were meant to head to USCIS back in May.

That day, undocumented parents around the country protested the temporary block. 

Both programs would reportedly benefit about 5 million undocumented people in the U.S. 

According to The Wall Street Journal, legal experts say the case is probably headed to the U.S. Supreme Court and then back to Hanen's desk. 

Here's a portion of the roundup by The Wall Street Journal:
The administration contends that the law grants the executive branch the prosecutorial discretion to prioritize who should be removed from the country. It also claims that the states lack legal standing to challenge its immigration program.

But the administration faces long odds in the Fifth Circuit. In May, a three-judge panel of the court denied the administration’s request to stay Judge Hanen’s injunction while the two sides continued to battle it out in court, concluding in a 2-1 ruling that “the government is unlikely to succeed on the merits of its appeal.”

The two Fifth Circuit judges who sided against the administration in May, Republican appointees Jerry E. Smith and Jennifer Walker Elrod, are among the three judges who will consider the follow-up appeal. They will be joined by Carolyn Dineen King, who was appointed by Democratic President Jimmy Carter and is new to the case.

Legal experts said the case likely will wind up before the Supreme Court and could ultimately land back in Judge Hanen’s court.


Ahead of Friday’s hearing, pro-immigrant activists from across the country descended on New Orleans for what is expected to be the biggest demonstration since the president’s plan landed in court.

“In New Orleans I am representing my family and millions of other families in the same situation,” said Elizabeth Rodriguez, 26, who traveled to the city from Los Angeles. She said that she and her three siblings were born in the U.S. and attend college, but their father has been in the country for three decades without legal status.

Advocates said they want to remind 2016 presidential contenders that many U.S.-born children of illegal immigrants will be eligible to vote for the first time in the next election.

“We have been mobilizing our communities to ensure we send a strong message to Democrats, Republicans and the country that we are going to fight,” said Cristina Jimenez, managing director of United We Dream, which represents undocumented youth.