The White House set out a path going forward Tuesday regarding how it will react to Monday’s federal court ruling granting a temporary injunction against President Barack Obama's executive action to prevent deportations of about 5 million illegal immigrants.
"With respect to the ruling, I disagree with it," Obama said Tuesday. "I think the law is on our side and history is on our side and we are going to appeal it. For those who are now wondering whether or not they should apply, we are going to refer those questions to the Department of Homeland Security that has already begun the planning process. And we will be prepared to implement this fully as soon as the legal issues get resolved."
Obama added: "We're not going to disregard this federal court ruling. The law is the law in this country, and we take things a step at a time."
1. What the Administration Won't Do
The administration will continue to act on some aspects of the executive actions issued last year, said Cecilia Muñoz, director of the White House Domestic Policy Council. That includes directing federal law enforcement not to deport certain individuals. However, deferred action for parents of illegal immigrants and expanded deferred action for those brought to the country by their parents will not move forward.
“Last night’s district court decision, while it prevents for the moment the administration from moving forward, accepting applications for expanded DACA and the DAPA program, the enforcement priority that the president announced on Nov. 20 and implemented on Jan. 5 remain in place,” Muñoz told reporters in a conference call Tuesday. “This regime of focusing our enforcement resources where they are going to have the highest priority continues to move forward.”
In 2012, Obama took executive action for Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals (DACA), for illegal immigrants no older than 31 or before January 2007. In November, he expanded that to included anyone who was in the United States before 2010. Obama further shielded parents of legal residents from deportation under Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA).
“I would not that the existing DACA program, the one that started in 2012, remains in place and was not effected by the judicial decision,” Munoz said. “So we will continue to accept application for that program and continue to implement it.”
2. What Continues?
“I would note that the existing DACA program, the one that started in 2012, remains in place and was not effected by the judicial decision,” Munoz added. “So we will continue to accept application for that program and continue to implement it.”
3. Informing Illegals
The Department of Homeland Security will work to inform illegal immigrants of the differences between the programs, to avoid confusion as to what programs are no longer available and what programs are, Munoz said.
“At the end of the day, the agency will do a good job of providing information to people,” Munoz said. “Advocacy organization will do a good job in providing information to people, and service organizations will do a good job providing information to people. At the end of the day, we expect to prevail legally and we expect this will be a successful process.”
4. Court Strategy
The Obama administration is confident it will win in its appeal of U.S. district judge’s decision.
“This is not the first district court level ruling we’ve seen on the president’s executive actions,” White House press secretary Josh Earnest said. “I think those who are veteran court watchers were not very surprised by this ruling. This is something we were prepared for.”
The White House announced early Tuesday that the Justice Department would appeal the decision.
Munoz did not know at this point whether the administration would ask for an emergency stay of the judge’s ruling to defend the decision made by Obama and being implemented by Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson.
“DOJ will determine in the next couple of days what steps it will take, that could include a stay,” she said. “It wouldn’t be the first time a district court has made a decision like this that was overturned at a later process. The administration is very confident that the executive actions that the president and Secretary Johnson took are well within the president’s authority, very solid legal ground.”