In November of 2014, President Obama announced executive orders to create a new program that permits parents of U.S. citizens or legal resident children to seek temporary deportation relief and work permits. In addition, President Obama widened access to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program for child immigrants who were brought to the U.S. illegally. These actions followed an unsuccessful attempt to overhaul federal immigration policy in Congress.
If implemented, the president’s actions on immigration would have an impact on higher education. The actions would enable students in more states to quality for in-state tuition and state-supported scholarships. The actions would also temporarily permit more individuals to obtain a social security card and a driver’s license, allowing more students to find employment that will help cover educational and living expenses while enrolled in college. But Texas, along with 25 other states, placed an immediate injunction on the implementation of the executive orders until the courts could decide on the legality of the proposed action.
In the 5th Circuit Court's decision, Judges Jennifer Elrod and Jerry Smith, the two judges who preserved the injunction, argued that the states made a compelling case that they would suffer harm if the actions went into effect. The judges also argued that granting stays of deportation to broad groups of immigrants extends beyond the president’s legal authority. Although the White House has declined to disclose its next move as of yet, an appeal to a higher court or new policy are two possible courses of action that follow the court’s decision.