President Barack Obama will answer questions on his administration's immigration initiatives with immigrants, immigration activists and students at a bilingual town hall at Florida International University in Miami on Wednesday afternoon. The town hall, hosted by MSNBC and Telemundo anchor José Díaz-Balart, will air Wednesday night at 8 p.m. Eastern Time on MSNBC and in Spanish at 7 p.m. Eastern time on Telemundo.
The town hall comes amid a setback for the administration as well as immigration advocates. Last week a lower court ruling in Texas froze Obama executive action programs designed to shield some immigrants from deportation and allow them to work. The programs would have extended relief from deportation to young undocumented immigrants, or DREAMers, brought here as children as well as to undocumented parents of citizen or legal resident children.
On Wednesday morning Democratic lawmakers, including House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, D-Md., and Illinois Democratic congressman Luis Gutierrez said they would continue holding informational sessions in several states to help qualifying immigrant families apply for deportation relief. Gutierrez also said he was confident a higher court will rule that the executive action programs can continue. "There is no one who understands the law that believes the district court ruling should be upheld," Gutierrez said.
Meanwhile in the lawsuit that brought the deportation relief programs to a halt, at least temporarily, the states challenging the programs have until Tuesday to make arguments why they should remain so while the Department of Homeland Security appeals.
_ Sandra Lilley