UPDATE, FEB. 19, 8:45 A.M.: Three local officials vowed at a gathering in Santa Ana Wednesday to continue educating immigrants on how to apply for documentation despite a federal judge's ruling blocking President Obama from providing legal shelter from deportation for some immigrants.
"This is not about politics, but about our families," Garden Grove Mayor Bao Nguyen said at a press conference on the steps of the Old Orange County Courthouse that was covered by City News Service. "We are not giving up. We are pushing forward." Gus Castellanos from the office of Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-Garden Grove) said planned workshops to help immigrants apply for protection from deportation will be held despite federal Judge Andrew Hanen's ruling. Castellanos advised immigrants to forge ahead with collecting the necessary documentation and saving money to be able to afford fees. But when it comes to funds, Alejandra Garcia Williams, the Mexican consul in Santa Ana, warned immigrants to be wary of schemes to defraud them with unnecessary fees for help with documentation. Williams advised immigrants to first check with the state Bar of California via calbar.ca.gov or 866.879.4532 to determine if someone claiming to be an attorney is registered to practice law in the state. The so-called "DACA Works Campaign" (DACA stands for Deferred Action for Child Arrivals) is organized in Orange County by Sanchez's office and the all-volunteer Orange County Immigration Coalition, whose founding members include the Orange County Labor Federation, the Orange County Congregation Community Organization, the Orange County Communities Organized for Responsible Development, Catholic Charities, Office of Life, Justice and Peace, and the Immaculate Heart of Mary Church.
ORIGINAL POST, FEB. 18, 6:09 A.M.: When I saw a headline stating that a federal judge in Texas had temporarily blocked President Obama's executive order on immigration, I thought, "It couldn't be Judge Andrew Hanen, could it?" Then when I scrolled down to see it was indeed Hanen, I thought, "Holy crap, Orly Taitz did not actually win a lawsuit, did she?" Alas, Hanen's order is related to a suit brought by 26 states, not the ones filed by the Rancho Santa Margarita lawyer/dentist/real estate saleslady/fly in the judicial system ointment.
The suit by the states–led by Hanen's own Texas–challenges Obama's orders to expand a program that protects young immigrants from deportation if they were brought to the U.S. illegally as children and to extend deportation protections to parents of U.S. citizens and permanent residents who have been in the country for some years. Those were set to take effect Wednesday and May 19 respectively.
Hanen's ruling is aimed at giving the states more time to put together a lawsuit that would seek permanent reversals of Obama's orders on grounds the president overreached his constitutional authority. The judge previously denied Taitz's request to consolidate her litigation with the states' case, although last week he did allow her filings to be considered a friend of the court brief, an invitation Hanen also extended to three illegal immigrants who tried to intervene.
The judge who President George W. Bush nominated to the federal bench in 2002 regularly handles border cases but wasn't known for being outspoken on immigration until he suggested in a 2013 ruling that the Homeland Security Department should be arresting parents living in the U.S. illegally who induce their children to cross the border illegally. Some who follow the exploits of so-called Queen of the Birfers Taitz claim she shopped for Judge Hanen to hear her "emergency request" last August aimed at stopping the transfer of undocumented immigrants in federal custody from South Texas to California, alleging they take jobs away from citizens and bring with them increased crime and infectious diseases.
When Hanen advised Taitz would have to show she was personally harmed by the immigrant transfers, she filed papers indicating she likely contracted a respiratory infection after treating an undocumented child as part of her dentistry practice. But with the Ebola virus in the news by the time government officials took the stand in Hanen's courtroom, that became the main focus of Taitz's line of questioning. Hanen's ruling is pending.
The Department of Homeland Security says it will comply with Hanen's orders in the states' case, for now, as the Justice Department announced separately it will appeal the judge's ruling to the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans. The White House has previously argued that setting immigration enforcement policy has been within the authority of presidents from both parties.
Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-Garden Grove) called Hanen's ruling a "political plot" to undermine Obama's effort to increase border security.
"There is a clear precedent that the president's policies are within his legal powers,'' Sanchez says in City News Service coverage of the ruling. "Families who seek and deserve help under these new policies should not feel deterred by this fear tactic."