Obama Will Appeal Texas Judge’s Order on Immigration
CASA Confident On-Going GOP Attacks against Immigrant Families will ultimately be thwarted by the Law
Urges MD and VA to continue to prepare for new immigration programs.
(Langley Park, MD) – Late yesterday, a Bush-appointed district court in Brownsville, Texas, issued a preliminary injunction that temporarily blocks the implementation process of the new immigrant deferred action programs.
The ruling possibly pushes back the start date for millions of immigrants workers to come forward, register, and apply for work permits, which is planned to begin as soon as February 18, 2015 for Dreamers.
“Regardless of today’s ruling, we are urging the hundreds of thousands of immigrants across our region that qualifies to continue to collect their documents and become prepared for the moment when this temporary decision is overturned,” said Gustavo Torres, Executive Director of CASA. “As Martin Luther King said, ‘the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.”
In filing the lawsuit against administrative relief, 26 states ignored the enormous benefit to their own local economies as the plan is implemented. Maryland, which joined an amicus brief against the lawsuit and supports the legality of the program, is expected to experience a $114 million increase in tax revenues over 5 years. Virginia, which remained silent on the lawsuit, is expected to experience a $106 million increase over a similar period.
“This is just the first round. Hundreds of legal scholars agree that the President’s executive action on immigration is constitutional and within his authority; a similar lawsuit against the original DACA program was thrown out in 2012. We are confident that the court system will eventually reject this meritless lawsuit, but in the meantime waiting has a real impact on immigrant families that qualify for the relief,” George Escobar, CASA’s Director of Health and Human Services.
One of the many real people affected by today’s decision is Catia Paz, a 30 year old citizen of El Salvador, who arrived in the US in April 2002 at the age of 17. She was the last of a large extended family whose members all came to the U.S. fleeing from a war that devastated their country.
During her 13 years in the US, Catia graduated from high school, worked for the same employer for over eight years, paid taxes religiously and became a homeowner. She and her family have been devoted members of Familia de la Fe Church in Alexandria, Virginia for 12 years. Her husband, German Reyes, has TPS and together they have two US citizen daughters – Genesis Reyes, now six, and three year old Alison. Today, of her 65 close relatives in the US, 30 are U.S. citizens, 20 are legal permanent residents and 15 have temporary protected status. No one from her family remains in El Salvador.
In early April of 2014 Catia’s received a one year Stay of Deportation. Without the immigration relief program, Catia could be deported at the end of that year.
CASA urges the 5th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals to take up this case immediately to address the millions of real people living in limbo. The decision comes just a week after CASA, together with other organizations, protested Republican offices in Congress.
CASA and its members recommit to ongoing struggle against the politicians – overwhelmingly Republican – that treat Catia and her family and the many families like hers as political punching balls.
MALDEF Had Previously Sought to Intervene on Behalf of Three Individuals Who Could Seek Deferred Action
Brownsville, TX – After a federal judge in Brownsville, Texas, late Monday night announced his order to temporarily halt administrative relief, MALDEF announced plans to appeal the judge’s earlier denial of intervention to three individuals intending to seek deferred action under President Obama’s announced program of reasoned prosecutorial discretion.
The programs that are temporarily halted are known as DAPA (Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents) and the expansion of DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals).
“The executive branch’s undeniable power to exercise prosecutorial discretion would become utterly unworkable were this judge’s decision to stand,” stated Thomas A. Saenz, MALDEF President and General Counsel. “The President’s attempt to introduce uniformity and rationality to the necessary exercise of discretion in immigration enforcement will, we are confident, ultimately prevail in court.”
“The decision also demonstrates why this case should not go forward without the ongoing input of those, like our proposed intervenors, who have a very real stake in substituting a rational process of discretionary relief for the current regime characterized more by surprise, trepidation, and vicissitude,” concluded Saenz.
The judge’s decision did not invalidate DAPA or DACA. Instead, the judge ordered that DAPA and the DACA expansion cannot go forward until the federal government takes additional time to carry out a formal rule-making process. That process, extraordinary at best in the context of prosecutorial discretion, includes accepting comments from interested individuals and formally adopting DAPA and the DACA expansion as federal rules.
Yesterday’s federal ruling did not affect the original DACA program of 2012 and does not affect DACA recipients who are renewing their applications.
MALDEF represents three mothers from South Texas who sought to join the case because they intend to apply for DAPA. On February 11, 2015, the court denied the mothers’ request to join the case as parties but agreed to consider their legal arguments.
“The judge’s decision is a temporary setback but is not the end of DAPA or DACA,” stated Nina Perales, MALDEF Vice President of Litigation and lead counsel for the three mothers who sought to enter the case. “We expect the decision will likely be overturned on appeal because the judge did not adequately consider the federal government’s authority to enforce its priorities in immigration,” continued Perales.
Texas Decision at Odds with Legal Precedent, History and Facts on Immigration Enforcement
Washington D.C. – Late last night, a Texas judge issued a preliminary injunction that temporarily blocks the implementation of President Obama’s new deferred action initiatives.
These initiatives, announced last November, came in response to more than 10 years of political stalemates and failure by Congress to address America’s broken immigration system and alleviate the pain endured by millions of families around the country.
The President’s announced initiatives will provide temporary relief from deportation to approximately 5 million undocumented immigrants currently living in the United States.
The new deferred action initiatives, which include Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) and an expansion of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), are based on the well-established authority of Presidents and other executive branch officers to allocate and prioritize finite enforcement resources.
This practice is used by prosecutors and other law enforcement personnel on daily basis. The judge’s order, issued just two days before the government was set to begin the DACA expansion, bars federal immigration officials from implementing “any and all aspects” of the new deferred action initiatives.
The following is a statement by Melissa Crow, Legal Director at the American Immigration Council:
“Today’s decision is only the first round in what will clearly be a much longer legal battle. Already, the White House has promised that the Justice Department will appeal the judge’s decision, and we urge them to do so in an expedited manner. We expect higher courts to overturn the judge’s decision based on well-established precedent.
“Today’s decision is more rooted in political rhetoric than legal rationales. It relies on a distorted view of overwhelming evidence of the economic benefits of immigration and ignores Supreme Court precedent. It also discounts a long history of recourse to prosecutorial discretion, which has been exercised by every President since Eisenhower.
The decision relies on a technical violation of the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) to find that the Administration did not follow proper procedures, while ignoring the fact that the President’s deferred action initiatives are not subject to the APA.
While the decision will unfortunately delay critical efforts to address our broken immigration system, the need and the demand for reform has never been greater. We remain confident that it is a question of when, not if, these programs will take effect.”