The executive action that would offer relief to millions of immigrants has been halted due to an injunction; an appeal on the issue will be held in April.
As many Longmont residents know, in November 2014, President Obama introduced an executive action that could affect millions of immigrants. According to Business Insider, the action would defer action on deportation for parents of legal residents and immigrants brought to America as children. Unfortunately, the action has met with legal challenges, which have blocked the proposed immigration plan from proceeding.
In February, a Texas judge placed a preliminary injunction on the immigration plan. This injunction has effectively prevented officials from completing groundwork and implementing the plan, according to USA Today. The judge recently declined to lift the injunction. As a result, the plan cannot proceed until an appeals court considers the legality of the injunction in late April.
Many states have expressed support for the implementation of the plan. Three Colorado lawmakers recently joined 178 other legislators in signing a brief defending the executive action, according to The Colorado Independent. The brief holds that the presidency historically has had the right to decide how to enforce immigration laws. Furthermore, the brief contends that uniform enforcement of these laws, including relief policies, would benefit immigrants and authorities alike.
If the appeals court makes a ruling along similar lines, the injunction may be lifted, allowing the plan to progress. Supporters have expressed hope that such a ruling can be reached quickly, to ensure that immigrants receive needed relief.
The changes that would be implemented under the executive action could benefit thousands of undocumented immigrants in Colorado. According to the Colorado Independent, the Center for Immigration Studies estimates that more than 200,000 undocumented immigrants currently reside in Colorado. As Business Insider explains, the following immigrants would benefit under the action:
- People who were brought here as children. The immigration plan would expand eligibility for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. People brought to the U.S. before age 16 and before January 1, 2010, would qualify for the program. The plan would allow these immigrants three years of deferred action.
- The parents of citizens or lawful permanent residents. To qualify, parents would have to pass background checks and establish at least five years of residency in the U.S. These parents would be eligible for work authorizations and deferred action lasting for three years.
- Highly skilled workers. The action would make it simpler for workers awaiting permanent legal status to seek new jobs or relocate. Qualifying spouses of specialty workers could also obtain employment authorizations more easily.
It’s important to note that none of these initiatives would guarantee citizenship or permanent protection for qualifying immigrants. However, these measures would open up new opportunities and make it easier for immigrant families to stay together.
Even if the plan remains stalled, more direct paths to residency or naturalization may be available to many immigrants. Undocumented immigrants may benefit from consulting with an immigration attorney to better understand these potential options.
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