MALDEF Appeals Exclusion from Lawsuit of Mothers Affected by DAPA
BROWNSVILLE, TX – Today, MALDEF appealed the decision of U.S. District Judge Andrew S. Hanen, denying intervention of three mothers who would potentially qualify for relief under the administrative action on immigration announced last year by President Barack Obama.
On February 11, 2015, the court denied the mothers’ request to intervene in the case as parties, but agreed to consider their legal arguments. The appeal filed today will be heard in the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.
“This critical litigation should include, centrally, the perspective of those, including these three courageous mothers, with the greatest interest in a rational process for determining the application of prosecutorial discretion in the context of immigration,” stated Thomas A. Saenz, MALDEF President and General Counsel. “Intervention of these mothers would ensure that this lawsuit does not become simply a battle of politics over policy and rationality.
”MALDEF represents the three mothers from South Texas, who sought to join the case because they intend to apply for DAPA. The original motion to intervene, filed on behalf of the three mothers, explained that they are directly affected by the outcome of this case, and, therefore seek to participate in order to defend their interests and provide their experiences and perspectives to the court.
“In a case brought by some states against the federal government, the three mothers represented by MALDEF have the greatest stake in the outcome,” stated Nina Perales, MALDEF Vice President of Litigation and counsel for the three mothers seeking intervention.
“The law gives the mothers a right to intervene and we expect the Fifth Circuit to vindicate their rights,” added Perales.In mid-February, Judge Hanen imposed an order halting the President’s administrative relief temporarily.
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), which will permit an estimated 4 million immigrants who have not committed crimes to stay and work in the country temporarily.
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. The U.S. Department of Justice has filed an appeal of the judge’s temporary injunction.