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Grijalva to host immigration forum Friday

Fifth Circuit to hear arguments over deferred action programs

Congressman Raúl Grijalva will host an immigration forum at Pima College's West Campus to discuss the two deferred action programs currently on hold while the Fifth Circuit of Appeals hears arguments beginning Friday. 

The forum will be held at 5:30 p.m. Friday at the PCC Center for the Arts' Proscenium Theatre, 2202 W. Anklam Rd. 

Illinois Rep. Luis Gutierrez will join Grijalva, along with members of the Mexican and Guatemalan consulates, representatives from the local and national immigration organizations, and recipients of the 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which gives work permits to young people who arrived in the United States as children. 

The forum will focus on the two deferred action programs announced in November 2014 by President Obama. The first expanded DACA and the second allowed parents to seek their own work permits and protection from deportation. 

Federal officials were preparing to accept applications for the expanded version of DACA on Feb. 18 when U.S. District Court Judge Andrew S. Hanen instituted a last-minute injunction halting the program. 

Hanen ordered the halt of the executive actions as part of a lawsuit filed by Texas and joined by Arizona and 24 other states against the Department of Homeland Security and the White House. 

At least 70 counties and cities, including Arizona's Santa Cruz and Coconino Counties have signed briefs pushing for the court to rescind the injunction and allow federal officials to begin processing applications. 

The case, Texas, et al. v. United States has moved to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans where a three judge panel will hear arguments. Justice Department lawyers will push for an emergency stay, allowing the federal government to implement the program as the case moves through federal courts. 

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A similar request was rebuffed by Hanen this month. 

While it's not clear how the court will rule, the court ruled in a similar suit against the 2012 DACA program on April 7. In a unanimous decision, the court ruled in Crane v. Johnson that neither the state of Mississippi nor agents of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement had standing to challenge the DACA program. 

As the Center of American Progress wrote in a briefing published Wednesday: "Like the plaintiffs in the Crane case, Texas argues that the challenged immigration programs violate both the Administrative Procedure Act, or APA—which governs the procedure for issuing federal regulatory policies—and the DHS’ constitutional obligation to enforce the immigration laws." 

Analysis by the Pew Research Center estimates that the two programs would affect up to 3.9 million people. 

In Arizona alone, the program for childhood arrivals would impact 39,000 people, while the program for parents would affect at least 97,000, or nearly half of the state's total unauthorized population, according to estimates by the Migration Policy Institute. 

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Paul Ingram/TucsonSentinel.com

In January, legal clinic volunteer Myrna Velasco helped Karina Monter, Jocelyn Carino and Raul Carino organize documents for their application to the deferred action program, which was delayed by a federal judge in February.