Millions of immigrants that would have benefited from President Obama’s executive actions on immigration will have to wait even more to begin their process. That’s because of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision to keep the presidential orders on hold until its constitutionality is resolved. Once again, politics won.
The ruling ratified the decision by U.S. District judge Andrew Hanen, who said that Texas could take legal action against the federal government because it will suffer losses if the extension of the DACA and DAPA programs is implemented. Two dozen states, all of them with Republican governors, also joined the lawsuit.
The national debate on immigration and the executive actions is mainly a political one. And this decision was not an exception.
Judges Jerry Smith and Jennifer Elrod, of the three-judge panel, accepted the argument that Texas would suffer a financial burden if forced to provide driver’s licenses to undocumented DAPA recipients. The magistrates rejected arguments touting the economic benefits resulting from incorporating the undocumented – not because they are false, but because they see them unrelated to the licenses cost issue.
On the other hand, the argument of the dissident judge, Stephen Higginson, demolished his colleagues’ interpretations point by point. At the end of his opinion, the magistrate recognized the obvious: the “political nature of this suit.”
Now there are different ways ahead, from the Supreme Court to other courts of appeals. The dispute over whether the 26 states have jurisdiction to oppose the executive orders can continue, or it can move directly to a discussion over whether the actions are constitutional.
Meanwhile, millions of people remain powerless as their future crumbles under legalisms and politics. Those immigrants are the face behind the executive orders. They are the individuals that make up the numbers.
Today is a celebration day for Texas, the states that joined the suit, the 185 Republican congressmen who support it, and the presidential candidates who promised to eliminate Obama’s actions. It is another sad day for the Latino community, because those who want to deport their families won yesterday.