photo: Corbis

Update: President Obama just filed an appeal to the Supreme Court ruling that rejected a plan to protect millions from deportation.

Millions of undocumented immigrants that were hoping to remain living in the United States without fear of being deported — and abandoning their children — were dealt a major blow last night.

President Obama’s goal to expand on his 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), and Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA), was rejected by the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals on November 9.

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These two immigration plans, under certain agreements, allowed a specific group of undocumented people to remain in the U.S., but the court ruled that the President overstepped his authority by trying to use his executive authority to “dramatically” expand on the DACA and DAPA agreements. Now the lives of millions are in jeopardy.

Obama’s plan was objected by 26 states (most of them with Republican governors), led by the state of Texas.

“The 5th Circuit covers Texas, Louisiana, and Mississippi and includes ‘a high number of judges appointed by Republican presidents,’” Slate reports. “The court's ruling was a 2-1 decision in which two judges appointed by Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush outvoted a dissenting judge appointed by Jimmy Carter.”

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Tom Jawetz, Vice President of Immigration Policy at the Center for American Progress, released this statement:

“We are disappointed in today’s flawed decision by the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals. Further delaying the implementation of these programs only harms the country by forgoing a cumulative $230 billion added to our gross domestic product over a decade, the creation of tens of thousands of jobs each year, and a significant increase in the wages of all workers. The Supreme Court should take up this case as soon as possible so that the country can reap all of the benefits that would come from these crucial initiatives.”

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio agrees with Jawetz, saying in a statement issued on November 10, "We urge the Department of Justice to immediately petition for the case to be heard by the Supreme Court as soon as next year." 

That's exactly the next move for Obama: to appeal this ruling. But he's on a limited schedule, not only because, as ABC points out, "in order for the Supreme Court to hear the case this term, briefing would have to be completed by mid-winter." And we already know the government lags in general. Also, Obama's term is up next year. Who's to say the next president, whether they are Republican or Democrat, would fight for Obama's original plan? 

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CitizenPath states that the court’s injunction does not affect the existing DACA program. "If you have been granted DACA, it is still in effect. If you need to renew DACA, you may still do so." They also outline the following crucial items that undocumented immigrants must know:

  • Undocumented aliens that are eligible for one of the two deferred action programs (DACA and DAPA) can also reasonably expect to be sheltered by the friendly enforcement policy. In other words, immigrants eligible for deferred action will most likely not be deported. 
  • It is highly likely the Obama Administration will appeal the 5th Circuit Court decision. If the case goes to the Supreme Court, it is likely that there will be no final decision until approximately June 2016.
  • President Obama’s executive action on immigration enforcement policy protects about 10 million can still protect you. 
Click here for more information on immigration and the latest news on the DAPA and DACA programs