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On Monday, February 16, U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen temporarily blocked President Barack Obama’s executive action on immigration, giving a coalition of 26 states time to pursue a lawsuit aimed towards permanently stopping the orders. Hanen issued a memorandum stating that the lawsuit should go forward, and that without a preliminary injunction the states will “suffer irreparable harm in this case.”

Having been on the federal court since 2002 after being nominated by President George W. Bush, Hanen was rarely known for being outspoken until a 2013 case in which he suggested that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security should arrest parents living in the U.S. illegally who encourage their children to cross the border illegally.

This decision comes just two days before the first of Obama’s orders was set to take effect. This order would expand a program that protects young immigrants from deportation if they were brought to the U.S. illegally as children. A second major part of Obama’s order, expected to begin on May 19, would extend deportation protections to parents of U.S. citizens and permanent residents who have been in the country for some years.

Those in opposition of Hanen’s injunction have said that the district court’s decision wrongly prevents these lawful, commonsense policies from taking effect, and the Department of Justice has indicated that it will appeal this temporary injunction. A group of 12 states, mostly liberal, including Washington and California as well as the District of Columbia have also filed a motion with Hanen in support of Obama, arguing that the directives will substantially benefit states and further the public interest.

Furthermore, a group of law enforcement officials, including the Major Cities Chiefs Association and more than 20 police chiefs and sheriffs from across the country have also filed a motion in support, arguing that the executive action will also improve public safety by encouraging cooperation between police and individuals with concerns about their immigration status.

In light of this ruling, the Department of Homeland Security will not begin accepting requests for the expansion of DACA on February 18, as originally planned. DHS also will suspend the plan to accept requests for DAPA until further notice.


We certainly hope that President Obama’s executive action will be allowed to proceed, but nothing is guaranteed in the current political environment. Stay Tuned