Tags: Barack Obama | Immigration | obama | order | immigrants | courts | hold

Obama's Plans for Illegals in Deep Freeze After Court Rulings

Obama's Plans for Illegals in Deep Freeze After Court Rulings
(Rick Loomis/POOL/Getty Images)

By    |   Monday, 08 June 2015 08:22 AM

The White House has stopped its work to move forward with preparations for President Barack Obama's executive order on immigration after a series of legal setbacks, The Washington Post reported.

The new programs to shield millions of illegal immigrants from deportation were blocked by a federal judge in February. Since then, the Department of Homeland Security has halted plans to hire up to 3,100 new employees who would have been taking up their roles in a building the government leased in Arlington, Virginia. That building continues to be mostly empty.

But while the government has halted its activities, community groups continue to mobilize to get ready for the programs, educating immigrants and training volunteers to help them apply for relief.

"We're full speed ahead," Josh Hoyt, executive director of the National Partnership for New Americans, a Chicago-based coalition of pro-immigrant groups, told the Post. The group has held more than 700 information sessions about the new programs and trained more than 2,000 volunteers to help immigrants navigate the program.

The president announced in November that as many as 5 million illegal immigrants would be eligible to avoid deportation if they met specified criteria, many of whom would be the parents of U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents.

After the announcement, however, Texas and 25 other states sued the administration, calling the moves unconstitutional, and a judge ruled that the orders be put on hold until the case was resolved. A federal appeals court recently upheld the injunction.

The government had leased the 280,000-square-foot Arlington building, for $7.8 million per year, the day after Obama announced his orders, and required an additional $26 million in start-up costs, the Post reported. The costs were to be covered by fees collected from immigrants who had applied to the programs.

"Everything is on hold," said Kenneth Palinkas, president of National Citizenship and Immigration Services Council 119, which represents roughly 12,000 Citizenship and Immigration Services employees, according to the Post.

Current employees who had been offered jobs in the new facility had their offers put on hold or withdrawn.

"It's kind of come to a screeching halt," Marielena Hincapie, executive director of the National Immigration Law Center, told the Post. She said the Obama administration "is being very cautious… They feel that injunction was very clear, that they're not able to do anything."

Immigrant advocacy groups, however, continue to prepare, she said, confident that the administration will ultimately prevail.

"There is a sense of being undeterred, that we are going to continue planning," Hincapie said, according to the Post. "We need to make sure that the infrastructure is in place and ready to go."

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The White House has stopped its work to move forward with preparations for President Barack Obama's executive order on immigration after a series of legal setbacks, The Washington Post reported.
obama, order, immigrants, courts, hold
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2015-22-08
Monday, 08 June 2015 08:22 AM
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