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As immigration actions remain in ‘legal limbo,’ a community waits

Immigrants across the country remain in “legal limbo” as a Texas judge’s stay on the president’s immigration actions heads to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals for review at the request of the federal government.

Fifteen people arrested by ICE just last week were found to be supposedly protected under the president’s executive action, according to an AP report, leaving those on either side reeling. “There is confusion on both sides,” immigration attorney Alma Rosa Nieto said on Friday’s Rundown. ”There is confusion on the side of ICE, and there is confusion on the side of those who are being detained.”

MSNBC Live with José Díaz-Balart, 3/6/15, 9:36 AM ET

White House pushes against executive action delay

José Díaz-Balart talks with National Immigration Forum executive director Ali Noorani about the new push from the White House on immigration as the president’s executive action continues to hang in the balance.
But Nieto said that there was potential for relief despite the Texas Judge Edward Hannan’s temporary block. “It’s important that people still request their rights, request to see a lawyer, so that this confusion can be unraveled, and people can stay while this injunction gets resolved,” she said.

Yet the difficulties do not stop at a successful resolution. A new report from BuzzFeed this week found that self-proclaimed immigrant leader Oswaldo Cabrera was misleading the immigrant community.

“He has left sort of footprints in a number of places around the country,” David Noriega, the reporter from BuzzFeed who broke the story, told José Díaz-Balart. “Now he is accused of actually using that public profile to defraud a lot of immigrants out of thousands of dollars by claiming that he would help them get legal status.”

Cabrera, who is not a licensed attorney, has denied any wrongdoing, telling Noriega that he operates “on the margins of the law.”

But Cabrera’s actions are not unheard of: Nieto says that type of deception has been rampant for decades. “Because of the fear and desperation at times, people will go where they hear that someone is getting results…It’s not only in the Latino community. It’s in the Asian community, the African community and the European community too,” she said.

Nieto recommends that those seeking assistance look to their state bar or the Association of Legal Administrators to ensure that those offering help are legally qualified.

Texas Judge Edward Hannan has not yet responded to the federal government’s request to revoke the temporary block he put in place. 

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As immigration actions remain in 'legal limbo,' a community waits