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Frank Sharry on Denial of Stay Request by Fifth Circuit: “We Are Delayed but Not Defeated”

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Today the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit denied a request for an emergency stay made by the Department of Justice in the case regarding the President Obama’s executive action on immigration. The following is a statement by Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice.

Some 5 million immigrants who are American in all but paperwork have, once again, been denied a chance to fully contribute to the nation they call home.  The executive actions announced by President Obama last November represent the biggest victory for immigrants in America in a generation.  Indeed, it was a victory won by immigrants and their allies.  In addition, the expansion of protections for Dreamers as well as for settled parents of American children is something broadly supported by the American people and enthusiastically supported by voters who want immigrants to be formally welcomed into the American family.

The fact that Republicans at all levels are doing everything possible to stop this long overdue relief will not be eventually forgotten or easily forgiven.  Led the state of Texas, opponents have mounted a politically-motivated lawsuit and ensured it would be considered first by an anti-Obama judge and then reviewed by the most conservative appeals court in America.  This is judicial activism in the extreme.

The three judge panel was composed of two judges appointed by Republicans and one appointed by Democrats.  Unsurprisingly, the vote was 2-1 in favor of the Republican lawsuit.  In his dissenting opinion, Judge Higginson made it clear that this is not a legal case as much as a political one:

‘I would hold that the underlying issue presented to us—the order in which non-citizens without documentation must be removed from the United States—must be decided, presently is being decided, and always has been decided, by the federal political branches. See Mathews v. Diaz, 426 U.S. 67, 81 (1976) (“For reasons long recognized as valid, the responsibility for regulating the relationship between the United States and our alien visitors has been committed to the political branches of the Federal Government.”). On the expedience of immigration measures, sensible things can be said on all sides, mindful that our country is an immigrant society itself. The political nature of this dispute is clear from the names on the briefs: hundreds of mayors, police chiefs, sheriffs, attorneys general, governors, and state legislators—not to mention 185 members of Congress, 15 states and the District of Columbia on the one hand, and 113 members of Congress and 26 states on the other. I would not affirm intervention and judicial fiat ordering what Congress has never mandated.’

We are delayed but not defeated.  We are confident that when we get a panel of judges that decides based on a clear reading of the law, and not primarily based on their ideological leanings, immigrants and their families will win.  In the meantime, some 5 million people who work hard, raise families and pay taxes are once again regarded as a group of criminals.  This injustice will not stand.  This decision is not the final word.  This movement will not be denied.