President Barack Obama's blocked executive action granting relief from deportation to about 5 million undocumented immigrants is set for a decision from the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in the coming days. It's certainly a big day for immigration reform, but it could prove just the beginning of a long back-and-forth process, Al Jazeera reported Sunday.
The decree, called Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA), proposed to shield undocumented immigrants who are the parents of U.S.-citizen children from deportation and to grant them work permits. The executive action was blocked by a Texas federal judge in February after a 26-state coalition filed a lawsuit concerning the economic impact DAPA would put on their states' governments. The judge, Andrew S. Hanen, in Brownsville, Texas, decided Obama had misused his power and not followed proper administrative procedures. The Obama administration then appealed in mid-April as the federal government clashed with lawyers over the legality of the executive action. Justice Department lawyers called the injunction "unprecedented" while Texas lawyers called for it to stand, the New York Times reported.
The decision from the appeals court is expected to be made soon -- although it is unclear exactly when -- but Obama's executive action might be destined to fail, Al Jazeera reported. Experts told the news outlet the administration perhaps should have issued a longer-lasting "substantive rule," as opposed to a policy, and should have better defined who was set to receive deportation relief.
“I think the rule is too narrow and should have been broader and covered the parents of Dreamers, not just the parents of citizens,” Michael Winshie, a law professor at Yale University, said about young undocumented children brought to the U.S. by their parents, according to Al Jazeera. “Number two: I would have done it earlier. The president waited and waited, kept saying, ‘Oh, I'm going to try and work things out with Congress.’ Things never worked out.”
After an immigration overhaul failed to pass last summer, Obama said he would act unilaterally despite objections from Republican lawmakers. The Al Jazeera report also suggested that the decision could ultimately go all the way to the Supreme Court.