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Dreamer Challenging Nationwide Immigration Injunction

President Obama announces his immigration reforms in November 2014. (The White House)
President Obama announces his immigration reforms in November 2014. (The White House)
August 30, 2016

NEW YORK - A Mexican immigrant in New York is challenging a nationwide injunction on two Obama administration immigration programs.

Martin Batalla Vidal's parents brought him to this country eighteen years ago, when he was seven years old. When the administration expanded the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, known as DACA, he was granted a three-year work permit. But that was revoked after 26 states challenged the expansion in court, saying it would cost them money.

Amy Taylor, legal director at Make the Road New York, said the injunction issued by a Texas district court should not apply to immigrants living in New York.

"A state that intentionally chose not to participate in that litigation because the state supported these programs," she said. "Mr. Batalla Vidal really feels it was an unjust infringement on his rights."

A lawsuit, filed in the Federal District Court in New York, said the Texas court did not have the authority to issue a nationwide injunction. That injunction also applies to the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans, or DAPA, program.

Justin Cox, a staff attorney with the National Immigration Law Center, pointed out that the injunction forces millions of immigrants in states that have not challenged these programs to spend extra time and money renewing their work permits at more frequent intervals.

"There have been individuals who have sought to renew their employment authorization and there have been delays, and they've actually had to quit their jobs because they're no longer work authorized," he said.

Each application to renew a work authorization cost more than $450, which Cox noted can be prohibitive to low-wage workers.

Nationally, about 60 percent of those eligible for deferred action under DAPA and DACA live in states that have not challenged the programs. According to Taylor, with the vacancy on the Supreme Court still unfilled, a definitive ruling could take years.

"So we see it as incredibly important not only to Martin and to his individual circumstance but to potentially millions of other people who could benefit," she added.

Overturning the injunction could affect an estimated five million undocumented immigrants.

Andrea Sears, Public News Service - NY