Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals Upholds Stay on Changes to Immigration Policies

The U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals has recently said that President Obama’s executive orders preventing the deportation of numerous illegal immigrants remain barred from going into effect. While there has not yet been a ruling on whether or not the changes in immigration policy are constitutional, the stay on their implementation is a sign that the federal court is likely to find the policies illegal. The injunction remaining in place has barred two proposed new policies from being implemented by the federal government that would grant deferred action and work permits to currently-unauthorized immigrants. One would have accepted applications from persons over 30 who moved to the US when they were children or teens. The other would have accepted deferred action applications from unauthorized immigrants whose children were permanent residents or US citizens.
With this most recent ruling, the Fifth Circuit was upholding a Texas US District Court judge’s decision from back in February. Twenty-six states, including Texas, sued the federal government in that US District Court to stop the Obama Administration’s proposed changes in immigration policy from being enacted. These states are arguing that they bear the burden of illegal immigration from having to pay for the public schooling for undocumented children, as well as emergency health care for unauthorized immigrants who are not permitted to obtain health insurance policies through the Obamacare exchange. These states also argue that the burden on them will be increased with implementation of these new policies, since more immigrants will enter the US illegally, knowing that they will be able to become legal immigrants in the future. In contrast, 13 states (with an even greater collective number of unauthorized immigrant residents, and thus bearing a larger “burden”) filed briefs in support of the Obama Administration’s changes to the law.

The court’s stated reason for finding the new policies problematic and putting a stay in place is that the Obama Administration failed to comply with the “notice and comment ” period required to implement a new federal regulation. Normally, when the federal government makes changes to code sections and regulations, it must provide a certain period of notice in the official Federal Register, and give time for the public to comment on the proposed change. Some experts suggest that, if the Obama Administration began the process of having the executive orders approved and began the official notice and comment period, the court would no longer have a basis for finding the proposed changes illegal, and would be forced to end the stay. The District Court judge implemented the stay on the policy changes while he forms his decision on the legality of the Obama Administration’s actions, under the theory that, if illegal, the implementation of the revised policies could cause irreparable harm.

Immigration law is in a period of major flux. If you are making decisions about when and how to apply for permanent residency or citizenship, find legal counsel you can trust to guide you through this confusing process. Contact the compassionate and experienced San Antonio immigration attorney Alfredo Lozano for assistance with your claim, at 210-932-3600. He is available to assist you with your immigration application throughout Texas, including Del Rio, San Angelo, Pearsall, Austin, and Midland.

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