Jim Wallis Denounces Federal Court Decision Against Obama Immigration Plan

Jim Wallis
President and founder of Sojourners, Jim Wallis, speaks at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. during a press conference announcing a new coalition designed to mobilize opposition against the death penalty on Tuesday, December 9, 2014. |
A sign is displayed in support of Angela Navarro, an undocumented Honduran-born immigrant with a deportation order, who moved into West Kensington Ministry Church with her family - her husband and two U.S. born children, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, November 18, 2014. Navarro, who has "always lived in fear" of deportation said on Tuesday she moved into a Philadelphia church as part of a national civil disobedience action aimed at pressing President Obama on immigration reform. Navarro is the ninth undocumented immigrant who has taken refuge in a church recently as part of what activists are calling the New Sanctuary Movement. Organizers offer sanctuary in churches because federal guidelines prohibit arrests in sensitive areas unless there is a threat to public safety or national security. |
obama immigration
Anti-deportation protesters chant in front of the White House in Washington August 28, 2014. The protest, organized by CASA, a non profit organization assisting immigrants, called on President Obama to stop deporting undocumented workers, parents and children. |
Immigration reform
Demonstrators march against amnesty for illegal aliens, during a rally against the immigration reform bill in Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, D.C. July 15, 2013. |
Illegal immigration
Unaccompanied minors ride atop the wagon of a freight train, known as La Bestia (The Beast) in Ixtepec, in the Mexican state of Oaxaca, June 18, 2014. |
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Jim Wallis has denounced a recent federal court decision that prevents, for now, the implementation of President Barack Obama's immigration reform agenda.

A three judge panel of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled 2-1 on Monday against a federal program that would have granted an estimated 5 million undocumented immigrants legal status.

Wallis, who is the founder and president of the Evangelical social justice group Sojourners, said in a statement Tuesday that the panel majority "put politics over people."

"This decision is not justice. It is not what welcoming the stranger and caring for the least of these looks like," stated Wallis.

"Christians must continue to fight alongside our immigrant brothers and sisters, many of whom are members of our churches, so that everyone can enjoy the flourishing that God intends for us all."

In November 2014, President Obama issued an executive action meant to safeguard millions of undocumented immigrants from deportation.

Obama said his immigration plan will give four million people eligibility for a new legal status that temporarily prevents them from being deported and allows them to work.

U.S. President Barack Obama
U.S. President Barack Obama delivers remarks on his use of executive authority to relax U.S. immigration policy during a speech at Del Sol High School in Vegas, Nevada, November 21, 2014. Obama imposed the most sweeping immigration reform in a generation on Thursday, easing the threat of deportation for about 5 million illegal immigrants. |

Furthermore, an additional one million people will also have a level of legal protection from deportation through other parts of the plan.

In response to the Obama executive action, several states led by Texas filed suit against the administration, arguing in part that the plan overruled their authority.

In February, U.S. District Court Judge Andrew S. Hanen of the Southern District of Texas, Brownsville Division, granted the states a preliminary injunction against DAPA.

"This Court … finds that at least Texas has satisfied the necessary standing requirements that the Defendants have clearly legislated a substantive rule without complying with the procedural requirements under the Administration Procedure Act," wrote Hanen.

The federal government appealed, but were again rebuffed earlier this week when a three-judge panel of the Fifth Circuit issued a 2-1 decision against DAPA.

"After extensive briefing and more than two hours of oral argument, a motions panel denied the stay after determining that the appeal was unlikely to succeed on its merits," read the majority opinion.

"Reviewing the district court's order for abuse of discretion, we affirm the preliminary injunction because the states have standing; they have established a substantial likelihood of success on the merits of their procedural and substantive APA claims; and they have satisfied the other elements required for an injunction."

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), a member of Congress known for working on immigration issues, said in a statement that he supported the Fifth Circuit panel's decision.

"Today's decision from the federal appeals court is a victory for the Constitution and the American people," stated Rep. Goodlatte.

"President Obama's decision to ignore the limits placed on his power and act unilaterally to rewrite our nation's immigration laws is an affront to the Constitution."

The White House has expressed their intention to appeal the decision, with DAPA possibly going before the U.S. Supreme Court in the near future.

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