MALDEF Had Previously Sought to Intervene on Behalf of Three Individuals Who Could Seek Deferred Action

BROWNSVILLE, TX - After a federal judge in Brownsville, Texas, late Monday night announced his order to temporarily halt administrative relief, MALDEF announced plans to appeal the judge's earlier denial of intervention to three individuals intending to seek deferred action under President Obama's announced program of reasoned prosecutorial discretion. The programs that are temporarily halted are known as DAPA (Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents) and the expansion of DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals).

"The executive branch's undeniable power to exercise prosecutorial discretion would become utterly unworkable were this judge's decision to stand," stated Thomas A. Saenz, MALDEF President and General Counsel. "The President's attempt to introduce uniformity and rationality to the necessary exercise of discretion in immigration enforcement will, we are confident, ultimately prevail in court.""The decision also demonstrates why this case should not go forward without the ongoing input of those, like our proposed intervenors, who have a very real stake in substituting a rational process of discretionary relief for the current regime characterized more by surprise, trepidation, and vicissitude," concluded Saenz.

The judge's decision did not invalidate DAPA or DACA. Instead, the judge ordered that DAPA and the DACA expansion cannot go forward until the federal government takes additional time to carry out a formal rule-making process. That process, extraordinary at best in the context of prosecutorial discretion, includes accepting comments from interested individuals and formally adopting DAPA and the DACA expansion as federal rules.

Yesterday's federal ruling did not affect the original DACA program of 2012 and does not affect DACA recipients who are renewing their applications.

MALDEF represents three mothers from South Texas who sought to join the case because they intend to apply for DAPA. On February 11, 2015, the court denied the mothers' request to join the case as parties but agreed to consider their legal arguments.

"The judge's decision is a temporary setback but is not the end of DAPA or DACA," stated Nina Perales, MALDEF Vice President of Litigation and lead counsel for the three mothers who sought to enter the case. "We expect the decision will likely be overturned on appeal because the judge did not adequately consider the federal government's authority to enforce its priorities in immigration," continued Perales.

Founded in 1968, MALDEF is the nation's leading Latino legal civil rights organization. Often described as the "Latino Legal Voice for Civil Rights in America" MALDEF promotes social change through advocacy, communications, community education, and litigation in the areas of education, employment, immigrant rights, and political access. For more information on MALDEF, please visit:

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