This week, a federal judge in Texas issued an injunction preventing the implementation of immigration programs that would provide deportation relief to Dreamers and parents of U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents.

That the Republican-appointed judge sided with Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) comes as no surprise, but the White House's lack of immediate action hints of defeat.

No one disputes there must be a solid legal strategy; however, the unfavorable ruling was highly anticipated.


Judge Andrew Hanen had gone out of his way in previous cases to criticize President Obama's immigration policy; the plaintiffs in this case looked for the judge most likely to agree before they chose where to file their case.

White House officials have indicated that administration lawyers were still debating how to challenge the injunction, including requesting an emergency stay, even as millions of American families await certainty to protect their loved ones from deportation.

An emergency stay request to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals would add urgency to the issue and, if approved, immigration agencies could begin accepting and processing applications for deportation relief in a matter of weeks.

Of course, there's a chance a stay will be denied by an appellate court, further delaying implementation of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) expansion and Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) program. Not doing anything, however, will put the programs on hold indefinitely.

The administration has talented lawyers, but questions remain whether senior White House advisers are actually welcoming this delay; the White House had been reluctant to act on immigration in the first place.

Despite this, Obama recently stated that the law is on the side of these programs, and is not alone.

Legal scholars from around the country have found the president's latest immigration actions to be constitutional and within his administrative powers.

So why is the president and his senior advisers reluctant to appeal an injunction that has no basis in law?

The conservative judge was persuaded by Texas's argument that the states would be injured because they would have to pay the cost of services to the undocumented population: this is based more on political grounds than on a legal and economic basis.

Studies have shown that an estimated $3 billion in tax revenue will be generated during the first two years if the president's immigration actions move forward. In Texas alone, moving forward with the actions would add $338 million, far exceeding the cost to the state of $104 million.

Obama took an important step forward in this direction by acting in the face of congressional inaction on immigration. Now it's up to the president and his administration to get back into the ring and fight.

Mr. President, the law, the economy and the American people are on your side. We need you to fight for American families and not back down.

UPDATE: Given recent news, the author commends the president's decision to file an emergency stay and hopes the administration will firmly defend the immigration programs.

Vargas is co-director of the Dream Action Coalition and a national advocate for immigration reform.