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Texas Court Ruling 'Temporary Setback' for AAPI Undocumented

by Frances Kai-Hwa Wang /  / Updated 

President Obama’s Executive Action on immigration scheduled to take effect today has been temporarily halted by a ruling by US District Judge Andrew Hanan in Texas, affecting approximately 475,000 undocumented Asian Americans expected to be eligible for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) expansion and Deferred Action for Parental Accountability (DAPA), according to the Pew Research Center.

“I strongly disagree with the ruling by a Texas judge that will temporarily delay the implementation of President Obama’s executive action on immigration,” Congressman Mike Honda told NBC News. “President Obama was well within the Constitutional rights of his office when he took his executive action on immigration.”

Honda encouraged community leaders to treat the ruling, which he doesn't believe will stand, as a temporary setback and to continue getting families ready for DACA and DAPA applications.

According to Shiu-Ming Cheer of the National Immigration Law Center, approximately 1.3 million Asian Americans are undocumented immigrants, with South Korea, the Philippines, India, and Pakistan among the top 20 countries of origin for DACA requests. However, both DACA and DAPA application rates from Asian Americans are disproportionately low, in part because of the stigma associated with undocumented status within the AAPI community.

For the family of George Mason University student Bati Tsogtsaikhan, DAPA could mean financial and legal stability. “This delay means more needless time-risking deportation and more time they must wait to work legally and provide permanent housing for the family," said Tsogtsaikhan. "I wish the judge considered that this political move impacts real people like my family negatively for no justified reason.”

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Correction: An earlier version of this story stated that 638,000 undocumented Asian Americans would be eligible DAPA and extended DACA. According to the Pew Research Center, approximately 475,000 undocumented Asian Americans would be eligible.

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