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Immigration Reform “Office Hours”

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Advocates, DREAM Leaders & Legal Experts Discuss Immigration Developments in the Senate and Pending Court Decision on Texas Lawsuit

Between the ongoing, intra-GOP debate over Department of Homeland Security (DHS) funding in Washington, DC and a looming court decision from Federal Judge Andrew Hanen in Texas on the President’s executive actions, the immigration debate continues to claim national headlines.  How far will Republicans in Congress and in the states go to alienate immigrants–will national security be harmed in the bargain?  What is the immigrant and advocacy community doing in response?  On this week’s Office Hours, we answered all these questions and more.

Said Lorella Praeli, Director of Advocacy and Policy for United We Dream, in response to the continued GOP attempts to block the President’s executive action programs:

Republicans in Congress took yet more votes to deport people like my sister and mother and not surprisingly, they failed every time.

Senate Republicans continue to hold basic government funding hostage and use people like my mother, Chela Praeli, as collateral.

What Republicans are saying is that, sure, we’ll fund DHS, only if we can deport millions of people.

But United We Dream is in full preparation mode to implement executive action with events, trainings and online strategies queued up and ready to go. Our community is strong and ready, and the nation is finally moving forward on immigration.  It’s time for Republicans in Congress to stop trying to drag us backwards.

Earlier this week, Praeli and her DACAmented sister, Maria, were invited to meet with the President on this very issue.

In addition to ongoing developments in Congress, soon a federal judge in Texas will issue a decision on whether to delay implementation of the President’s immigration policies and subject millions of people to deportation.   

As David Leopold, former President of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, explained on the call:

Across the country DREAMers, undocumented parents of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents, and supporters of immigration reform are anxiously waiting Judge Andrew Hanen’s imminent ruling on the State of Texas motion that he delay President Obama’s administrative actions, which are set to begin going into effect in a few days.  Many are bracing for the worst—expecting Judge Hanen to jump at the chance to block the President’s deportation reprieves based his severe criticism of the Administration in an unrelated criminal smuggling prosecution.  But I for believe that that Judge Hanen will throw out the State of Texas lawsuit challenging DAPA and DACA—if he follows the law.  That’s because the State of Texas and the 25 states that have joined it are pushing a bogus complaint; it reads more like a factually inaccurate press release than a legal document. It’s clear that partisan politics, not concern for the rule of law is what’s fueling their misguided effort.  On the other hand, if Judge Hanen enjoins the President’s immigration actions it will be temporary setback, but not a defeat for DACA or DAPA.  The final word will come from the appellate courts which, I am confident, will ensure that at some point, somewhere, a judge objectively and correctly applies the law and throws out the meritless Texas challenge.

See also Leopold’s Huffington Post blog entitled, “The Texas Lawsuit Challenging Obama’s Immigration Executive Actions Will Be Thrown Out — If the Judge Follows the Law,” here.

Added Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice:

It’s remarkable to see the GOP lurch so far to the right in an electoral season where the Latino vote will be more influential than ever.  It’s evident now that when it comes to the President’s executive actions, Republicans don’t have the votes in Congress to stop it; they don’t have the law on their side; and they don’t have the public on their side.  It turns out that the GOP picked a fight they can’t win, and now they find themselves painted into corner without an exit strategy.  This, from an approach that they conceived and implemented all on their own.  Amazing.

For recordings and resources from prior Office Hours calls, click here.