According to the Associated Press, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, in New Orleans, has ruled against President Obama’s plan to protect an estimated 5 million people living in the United States illegally from deportation.
The appeals court upheld a Texas-based judge’s injunction against the Obama administration in a 2-1 decision, the AP reports, blocking the immigration initiative, which would have protected parents of children who are U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents and also included an expansion of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, which protected immigrants if they were brought into the country illegally as children.
The shift in DHS’s enforcement priorities, which are separate from the DAPA program and have not been challenged in court, could prove even more far-reaching.
The new policies direct agents to focus on the three priority groups and leave virtually everyone else alone. Demographic data shows that the typical undocumented immigrant has lived in the United States for a decade or more and has established strong community ties.
Although the new measures do not grant illegal immigrants a path to citizenship, their day-to-day lives could be changed in countless ways. Now, for instance, undocumented migrants say they are so afraid to interact with police, for fear of being deported, that they won’t report crimes and often limit their driving to avoid possible traffic stops. The new policies, if carried out on the ground, could dispel such fears, advocates for immigrants say.
“We decided we’re going to draw a clear line between individuals who now have significant equities in the country versus those who are recent entrants,” one DHS official told the Post, referring to initiatives started by Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson.
“If people are not an enforcement priority,” the official said, “bottom line, the secretary has said don’t go after them.”