It is not too surprising to see the panel of judges’ divided decision at the Fifth Court of Appeals rejecting President Obama’s executive orders to protect millions of people from deportation. We expect the Supreme Court to take the case swiftly so that it can be resolved and to avoid tearing families apart.
It took the Court of Appeals more than 5 months to consider the case, which the Department of Justice had requested to expedite. These were the same judges who recently decided that Texas had the right to sue the federal government for the expenses incurred while implementing the executive order, specifically for issuing drivers’ licenses to the new beneficiaries. This new setback is not a surprise.
The delay in their decision led some to speculate that the appeals court was dragging their feet to make it difficult for the Supreme Court to reach a final decision before President Obama left office, due to lack of time. However, considering the speed with which the gay marriage issue was decided, this case could surely be solved in 7 months.
As things stand, nearly 4 million people ‒ the undocumented parents of young U.S. citizens currently protected by DAPA and undocumented minors who were brought into the country by their parents, covered by the DACA expansion ‒ are at risk of being deported. This is a minority among the undocumented population which, despite having their roots in this country, is being targeted by Republican presidential candidates promising to strike down all such executive orders, including DACA, which at this time protects over a million and a half youths.
We hope that the Supreme Court will take on this case at the speed with which it is being appealed. Meanwhile, the White House could be taking action in other areas, such as making sure that deportations are only being carried out on people who really are dangerous to society. They could also end the detention of mothers and children at special centers, which was established when a wave of Central American immigrants rushed in, running away from violence.
It is urgent to resolve the future of these immigrants and to acknowledge their contributions and the fact that, all this time, they have been building an honest life in the U.S.