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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

Texas A&M utility Gavin Grahovac (9) throws the ball during A&Ms game against Georgia on Friday, April 26, 2024, at Olsen Field. (CJ Smith/The Battalion)
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The BattalionMay 4, 2024

Judge’s stay of Obama immigration order a ‘shame for Texas,’ advocate says

President Barack Obama’s executive orders on immigration came to a halt with a federal judge ruling late Monday afternoon.
Andrew Hanen, a U.S. district judge in Texas, blocked action on the executive orders, giving 26 states, including Texas, more time to build a lawsuit against the order. The states will claim the order to be unconstitutional.
“It represents a massive change in immigration practice and will have a significant effect on, not only illegally present immigrants, but also the nation’s entire immigration scheme and the states who must bear the lion’s share of its consequences,” Hanen wrote in the official ruling.
The executive orders, announced by Obama in November, aim to shield from deportation four million immigrants, namely parents and families of children who are now citizens or permanent residents. Each person applying for the three-year deportation relief is required to have been in the U.S. for more than five years, undergo a criminal background check, register and pay taxes.
Felipe Hinojosa, assistant professor of history, works with undocumented students at Texas A&M. He said he disagrees with the judge’s ruling, which doesn’t address certain points about undocumented persons in the United States.
“The judge’s ruling states that the executive order would essentially force states to invest in things like law enforcement, education and healthcare,” Hinojosa said. “And first of all I’d ask, ‘What’s wrong with that?’ I think we need to do more of that as a state. But more importantly, what’s missing in that equation is the fact that undocumented immigrants do pay into the system.”
Hinojosa said the ruling feels more political than substance-based. Nery Guerrero, president of the Council for Minority Student Affairs, agreed, and said the ruling came two days before applications for work permit renewals reopened.
“It was meant to halt the renewals,” Guerrero said. “This is very sad because the politicians are continuing to play this game that’s not only affecting votes or parties — they’re affecting people, they’re affecting families. They’re using this as a strategy on their campaign but they’re playing with real people, real immigrants, and there are a lot of undocumented Aggies whose hopes are being brought down, and this is a shame on Texas.”
For now, CMSA is working with other organizations like United We Dream to reassure students who are worried about the judge’s decision.
“We’re sending national information and national awareness to everyone, and what we’re basically telling everyone who might be scared about this is that this decision is not permanent,” Guerrero said. “While it’s delaying the process, this lawsuit is not permanent and we’re confident the higher courts will reject this lawsuit since it has no legal merit.”
Rep. Bill Flores released a statement Tuesday congratulating Hanen on his ruling.
“The rule of law has prevailed over President Obama’s unconstitutional executive overreach,” Flores said in the statement. “The president’s unlawful amnesty plan has been stopped. Our Constitution has been preserved and the president has been put on notice that his unilateral actions will not go unchallenged.”
Guerrero said the idea of an amnesty plan is a misconception.
“There’s no amnesty plan,” Guerrero said. “Obama relief is relief for parents of DACA [Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals] children — something that has been voted in before. It’s not an amnesty plan, there’s no granting of citizenship. It provides relief for the children, many of them students.”
As of Tuesday, Hinojosa said the U.S. Justice Department will appeal the ruling and the Homeland Security secretary has released a statement against Hanen’s decision.

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