50,000 Undocumented Tennesseans Continue to Wait for Relief - Lengthy Legal Battle Continues as 5th Circuit Denies Emergency Stay, TIRRC Remains Confident That Deportation Relief Programs Will Be Upheld
Nashville, TN – Today, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit denied the U.S. Department of Justice’s request for an emergency stay that would have lifted the injunction that has delayed the implementation of new deportation relief programs that President Obama announced late last year. In mid-February, Federal Judge Andrew Hanen issued a temporary injunction halting the implementation of the new programs as he considers the Texas vs. United States case, the anti-immigrant lawsuit filed by 26 states, including Tennessee. As a result of the injunction, 50,000 immigrants in Tennessee who are expected to qualify for the programs continue to live in fear of being separated from their families.
Today’s ruling is not the final word in the lengthy legal battle around the executive actions. The court only ruled on the Department of Justice’s request for an emergency stay which would have lifted the injunction during the appeals process and allowed eligible immigrants to begin the application process. The appeal process will continue this summer as the Fifth Circuit Court Appeals will hear the formal request to lift the injunction. At the same time, the Department of Justice could appeal the denial of the emergency stay. The Department of Justice has not yet said what their next steps will be.
Despite the slow movement of the anti-immigrant lawsuit through the court system, support for immigrant families and the deportation relief programs has grown. Legal scholars remain confident that President Obama acted within his legal authority and that the programs will ultimately be able to go into effect. Since the President announced his executive actions in November of last year, TIRRC has worked with more than 10,000 immigrants in Tennessee to understand the eligibility requirements and prepare for the application process.
The following is a quote from Stephanie Teatro, Co-Executive Director of TIRRC:
"While we are disappointed in the court's decision we are not surprised or deterred. We remain confident that the programs will be able to go into effect and we will continue to work with immigrant families across the state to prepare for the inevitable implementation of DACA and DAPA. Attorney General Slatery should drop Tennessee from the frivolous lawsuit that attempts to perpetuate the status quo of our broken immigration system, wastes taxpayer dollars, and delays the only immigration process available to over 50,000 hardworking Tennesseans."
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