Undocumented people in Tennessee will continue to wait to see if they will have relief through President Obama’s deportation relief programs, after the Fifth Circuit Court denied a request from an emergency stay. Photo credit: kconnors/morguefile.com
Fifty-thousand people in Tennessee who would qualify for new deportation-relief programs announced last year still cannot take advantage of them. This comes as a Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals denied a request Tuesday for an emergency stay that would have lifted the injunction that has delayed the implementation of those programs for people in Tennessee and the rest of the country. Eben Cathey, spokesman for the Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition, said they still have hope. “This is not the end. There’s a long way to go for this lawsuit,” he said. “This only covered whether or not the programs would go into effect now, as that lawsuit is happening or if we would have to wait until this lawsuit is resolved.” Cathey said the appeal process will continue this summer as the Fifth Circuit court will hear the formal request to lift the injunction. At the same time, the Department of Justice has not yet said what its next steps will be and could appeal the denial of the emergency stay. While he and others are hopeful, Cathey said, the court’s decision is leaving thousands of long-time residents of Tennessee with much anxiety about their future and that of their loved ones. “What we do know is that every day that the injunction remains, families are suffering,” he said. “Families fear family separation; they’re not able to contribute to our economy fully.” Tennessee is one of 26 states that filed a lawsuit alleging that President Barack Obama’s action to shield as many as 5 million immigrants illegally living in the United States from deportation is unconstitutional.