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February 18, 2015

Deportation relief in limbo for millions after Texas judge’s ruling


An executive action by President Obama that was set to stop deportation procedures for five million people came to a halt this week after a federal judge in Texas blocked the president’s order.

Obama announced in November that he would defer deportation for undocumented people who have been in the U.S. for more than five years and are the parents of citizens, or who came to the U.S. as children. After undergoing background checks and paying fees, they would be granted temporary relief from deportation.

But Judge Andrew Hanen of the Southern District of Texas ruled that the action did not follow the Administrative Procedure Act, which states that certain federal decisions must go through a notice-and-comment process, during which the public can comment on a proposed rule for 90 days.

The decision follows months of pushback from Republicans, who perceived the order as a presidential overstep. Obama has said that the decision is legal within the bounds of executive powers.

The federal government will appeal the decision, and the Department of Homeland Security will continue preparing to fulfill the executive action. Meanwhile, many immigrants are in limbo and feeling “painful confusion” over the decision, according to Alan Gomez, an immigration reporter for USA Today.

Meanwhile, in Congress some Republican representatives are fighting the immigration actionand threatening to withhold funding from the Department of Homeland Security until Obama withdraws the order.

Warm up questions
  1. What does “undocumented immigrant” mean?
  2. What does it mean to be a citizen?
  3. How do undocumented people become U.S.citizens?
Critical thinking questions
  1. What are some of the challenges of applying forcitizenship? What sort of resources and information would you need?
  2. What do you know about the U.S. government’s system of checks and balances? How do you see all three branches of government playing a role in this debate?
  3. How do you think immigration will play into the 2016 presidential election? Will it be the biggest issue in the election?
  4. How does immigration affect your community, economically, socially and culturally?
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