Yesterday Judge Andrew Hanen, a district court judge in Texas, issued a politically-charged injunction to block the implementation of immigration initiatives designed by President Obama to improve our system for millions of immigrants living and working in the United States. Today was supposed to kick-start the planned expansion of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, granting immigrants at least 30 years old who came to the US as children and teenagers the right to apply for deportation relief and work authorization. A similar program for parents of US citizens, Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (DAPA) was set to open this spring, as well.
Judge Hanen’s decision to obstruct this needed reform to DACA and his supporting opinion documents were legally questionable, filled with tone-deaf rhetoric, and ignore the wealth of contributions made by generation after generation of immigrant families in our nation. There’s no doubt that this maneuver was offensive and counter-productive.
Fortunately Judge Hanen’s injunction is no match for the strength and solidarity demonstrated by immigrant communities and their union allies; evidenced by swift responses and actions yesterday following the announcement.
AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka emphasized:
“This temporary setback will not deter the AFL-CIO’s work on the ground to ensure that as many workers as possible are eventually able to gain protections and work authorization under the new deferred action programs. Around the country, we will continue educating workers, training union activists and helping eligible applicants gather the documents they will need to qualify.
The path to justice often includes obstacles. We will not give up the fight until Congress passes comprehensive immigration reform with a clear pathway to citizenship so that all workers in this country will have the ability to assert their rights on the job and in their communities. In the meantime, this ruling will further strengthen the resolve of a resilient community that is a vital part of our labor movement. We know that an organized community is a stronger community, and that together we will rise.”
Many elected officials in California echoed this sentiment. Governor Brown and Attorney General Kamala Harris have derided the injunction and stated that they stand with President Obama and with immigrant families in our state.
Unions across the country responded my emphasizing commitment to fixing our broken system urging families who were planning to apply today to not lose hope. Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Executive Vice President Rocio Saenz stressed:
“We urge those who are eligible for DACA or DAPA to keep doing what you are doing to prepare to enroll. Continue to compile the information and documents you will need.
Don't fear. America is with us.
The majority of the American public supports the immigration action. They support families who call America their home, who are willing to make our economy stronger, who are our friends and neighbors…who are a part of the greater American family.“
The systems and protocols for immigrants in this country can be incredibly confusing and frustrating, particularly in the wake of even a minor setback like this injunction. Fortunately there are many helpful resources available. One in particular worth highlighting is iAmerica. This helpful website offers resources for immigrants and their families trying to navigate this system. Please visit for more information and be sure to sign up to make sure you receive important updates on DACA and DAPA in the coming months.