1437492994By Paul Sloderbeck, Immigration Attorney
July 21, 2015

Activists from Alabama, Louisiana, and across the country gathered in New Orleans on Friday, July 10. They were there in anticipation of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals hearing on the injunction that has put a halt to the implementation of Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (DAPA).

Inside the Courthouse, Judges questioned attorneys for the Obama administration and those representing Texas and the other states challenging DAPA, marching bands played in the square outside as activists also chanted phrases such as “Not one more,” and “education not deportation.”

 

Activists from the New Orleans Congreso de Jornaleros helped organize an act of civil disobedience in front of the New Orleans Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) office, a few blocks away. A group of protestors blocked off the road, and set up ladders in the intersection. They climbed on top of them and put chains around their wrists. They set up banners calling to “Shut down ICE,” and some were ultimately arrested and later released.

Yazmin Contreras of Adelante Alabama Worker Center made the trip down. She enjoyed seeing the diversity of people in support of DAPA. It was “not just Latinos” but all types of people, including families, which “shows how many people have been affected” by deportations, according to Contreras.

However, it now seems like the fight for DAPA may continue. Two of the judges on the panel Friday were the same who, in May, denied an emergency request by the Obama administration to lift the injunction and let the DAPA program move forward. The judges emphasized in their questions the extra benefits that DAPA might give recipients, and questioned whether it was an overreach of the typical use of deferred action and prosecutorial discretion.

Benjamin Mizer, the attorney for the Department of Justice defended the executive actions. He also argued that Texas and the other states challenging DAPA do not have legal standing to support their case.

There is no deadline for a decision from the Fifth Circuit. If they uphold the injunction, the fight to implement DAPA will require an appeal to the Supreme Court. This could possibly leave the program in limbo until June of 2016.

Nevertheless, we will remain hopeful that the program will be upheld. In the meantime, please contact an immigration attorney if you have any questions about your legal status.