The ACLU of Iowa is deeply disappointed by a preliminary injunction issued by a Texas federal court, but believes it's only a temporary setback in the fight for comprehensive immigration reform. 

February 17, 2015

Despite its extreme and inflammatory rhetoric, the court decision Monday from the Federal District Court for the Southern District of Texas does not explicitly hold that DAPA, DACA, or any other part of the federal government's executive actions, is unconstitutional. Legal scholars and leaders — on both sides of the ideological spectrum — agree that the new deferred action initiatives are constitutional, and they are supported by ample precedent. We are confident that the courts will ultimately agree.

Proponents of the lawsuit are playing politics with peoples’ lives

While millions of aspiring Americans wait for the opportunity to fully contribute to their communities and economies, this  very narrow decision, holding only that the federal government may have failed to follow procedural requirements before implementing Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) and the expansion of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), attempts to keep all of us from moving forward. In a recent nationwide CNN/ORC poll, 60 percent of respondents said they thought Republicans in Congress should not file a lawsuit against the administration challenging President Obama’s executive action on immigration. In the same poll, more than 70 percent of respondents supported the content of the policies or felt they did not go far enough; 76 percent of respondents in the same poll said they thought Republicans should instead spend more time attempting to pass comprehensive immigration reform.

The immigrants’ rights movement will move forward

Today’s news was deeply disappointing, but we will not be deterred. While this setback is serious and should be redressed in due course, the government's other reforms to protect civil liberties and immigrant communities — including the fundamental principle that the Department of Homeland Security may set priorities for immigration enforcement and exercise prosecutorial discretion —remain in place.

This decision does not impact previous DACA programs announced in 2012 nor does it limit progress Iowa has made limiting ICE detainers.

Millions of people have fought for over a decade to win relief for aspiring Americans seeking to come forward and contribute more fully to their communities. The ACLU and advocates across Iowa are part of this historic effort and will continue to fight for reforms to our immigration system and for a roadmap to citizenship for immigrants."

-- Erica Johnson
Immigrants' Rights & Racial Justice Advocate