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Daniel Tilson: Judge's ruling kicks immigrants to the sidelines – again

America’s undocumented immigrants aren’t political footballs, or soccer balls. But they keep getting thrown out of bounds and kicked to the sidelines.

Federal Judge Andrew Hanen.

Federal Judge Andrew Hanen.

The latest blow was delivered by Texas federal Judge Andrew Hanen, the 2002 George W. Bush judicial appointee who in 2013 infamously advised the Homeland Security Department to start arresting undocumented parents trying to reunite their families by having their children cross the border illegally.

Now Hanen has ordered an injunction blocking implementation of President Barack Obama’s two post-election executive orders on immigration. The first would have taken effect Feb. 18, extending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program to almost 300,000 more immigrants over the age of 30 who arrived in the USA as children and meet other requirements. The second would take effect in May, creating a new Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (DAPA) program for upwards of 4 million immigrants whose children are U.S. citizens or permanent residents.

The goal of both orders is to keep families together rather than ripping them apart with midnight raids and mass deportations. They are not amnesty programs, or pathways to citizenship, or lottery tickets that pay off with free Obamacare and private school vouchers.

They were meant to stop punishing millions of innocent immigrant men, women and children for the partisan political misdeeds and missteps of Republicans in Congress, and the conservative media and grassroots noise machine egging them on.

The orders were the right thing to do, the only road forward given the GOP’s deliberate congressional roadblocking of comprehensive immigration reform (CIR). And they would bring desperately needed social progress to Florida.

Our corporate-managed, for-profit “detention centers” are already bursting at the seams with mistreated undocumented immigrants awaiting deportation. And the reelection of Gov. Rick Scott ensures his friends and campaign contributors at private prison titan GEO Group will keep raking in the detainees, and millions of dollars.

Meanwhile, too many of our Hispanic and Latino communities are rightfully outraged and wrongfully fractured by years of raids and deportations during the Obama administration. No matter that the overwhelming majority of the prisoners and deportees are guilty of nothing more than fleeing deadly dangers in their homelands, fighting to keep their families together…and running afoul of America’s current crop of radical right-wing congressional obstructionists and do-nothings.

After years of refusing to move forward with CIR on Obama’s watch, Republicans in Congress had this coming. Both orders are well within the president’s executive authority – at least according to most legal experts and authorities without political axes to grind – but thanks to Hanen’s ruling, those experts and authorities will have their work cut out for them now.

The Justice Department will file an appeal in hopes of overturning the injunctions. But that will take weeks or more to unfold. In the meantime, a terrific Vox Q &A story explaining details of the situation in simple terms, nails it in this headline:

“Relief is delayed for millions of people”

Former Florida governor and 2016 presidential wannabe Jeb Bush had this to say about that:

“Last year, the president overstepped his executive authority and, in turn, hurt the effort toward a commonsense immigration solution. That’s not leadership. The millions of families affected across the country deserve better.”

No, that is not overstepping executive authority, not until and unless every court where the case is heard says so. Interestingly enough, overstepping executive authority is what Bush did as governor in the Terri Schiavo case.

And Obama, congressional Democrats and even Republicans such as Sen. Marco Rubio have shown leadership in seeking commonsense compromise. But they’ve been relentlessly rebuffed by GOP ideologues.

Playing the compassionate conservative card, Mr. Bush, you are right about one thing. Millions of families affected across the country do deserve better than being thrown and kicked around by the likes of you and your never-ending political gamesmanship.

If Bush wants to be a leader, let him start by getting his own party to show some not-so-common good sense on immigration reform.

Daniel Tilson has a Boca Raton-based communications firm called Full Cup Media, specializing in online video and written content for non-profits, political candidates and organizations, and small businesses. Column courtesy of Context Florida.

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