As federal judges in the Fifth Circuit of Appeals in New Orleans might likely maintain the injunction on the implementation of President Obama’s expanded reform efforts, Texas v. United States could be headed toward the Supreme Court. With the injunction still in place, expanded outreach through the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (DAPA) programs can’t move forward—leaving some immigrant families living in fear of separation through deportation.
While the current impasse in the court of appeals is discouraging to immigration reform advocates, it’s worth noting that attorneys with the Department of Justice (DOJ) have solid arguments in their corner as they argue the case for lifting the injunction. Additionally, highly vocal public sentiment has manifested in the form of activist support.
After the president announced expanded reform orders in November last year, DACA and DAPA proposals were slated to go into effect in February. When the state of Texas filed a lawsuit against the measure, U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen blocked the reform order. As it stands now, officials with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) had to shut down plans to accept applications from those who fit the reform criteria.
One immigrant activist who makes a particularly compelling case in favor of lifting the injunction is New Orleans City Council Representative LaToya Cantrell. In her editorial, which ran over the weekend in The Times-Picayune newspaper, Cantrell makes the case that support for the president’s reforms are in alignment with New Orleans priorities for a safe community with a vibrant economy.
“There is no doubt in my mind that the president’s order will benefit many,” Cantrell writes in the editorial. Immigrants’ participation in the nation’s productivity means the rule is designed to reach out to those who help to make the city and the country work. “These are people who have contributed to our nation.”
What’s more, Cantrell writes, immigrants played an important role in the city’s recovery after Hurricane Katrina. The council representative writes that residents of her district “remember the thousands of immigrants who came here when we desperately needed help, spending countless hours rebuilding our homes.” She continues, “Almost as soon as the floodwaters receded, and sometimes sooner, these workers were here: putting blue tarps on our damaged rooftops, gutting homes and repairing our broken city in many other ways.”