FIVE THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT The Federal District Court Decision Regarding the DACA and DAPA Initiatives


1. This is a temporary setback, not a defeat.

Immediately after the decision was issued, the White House announced its commitment to challenging the court’s order. As the White House said, “The district court’s decision wrongly prevents lawful, commonsense policies from taking effect and the Department of Justice has indicated that it will appeal that decision.” The case will now go to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. In the meantime, potential applicants for expanded DACA and DAPA should continue collecting documents and saving for filing fees so they will be ready to apply when the injunction is lifted.

2. The decision does not affect the original DACA program and other administrative reforms announced in November 2014.

The court’s opinion stated clearly that the only programs at issue in the lawsuit are the expanded DACA and DAPA initiatives. The original DACA program, first announced in June 2012, is not affected by the lawsuit.

In addition, other aspects of the President’s November 2014 executive actions also remain fully intact. This includes the new immigration enforcement priorities memorandum. This memo establishes a department-wide set of priorities that focus on the removal of individuals who pose threats to “national security, public safety, and border security.” It went into effect on January 5, 2015. Virtually every person who is eligible for expanded DACA and DAPA will not qualify as an enforcement priority and will be a strong candidate for the favorable exercise of prosecutorial discretion, should they come into contact with immigration enforcement officers.

3. The court reached only narrow legal issues.

The court did not rule on the primary legal claim that the deferred action initiatives are unconstitutional.

4. The judge cherry-picked the facts.

Judge Hanen’s decision that Texas has “standing,” or legal authority, to bring this suit relies upon alleged injuries that the states will suffer when expanded DACA and DAPA are implemented. The judge focuses primarily on the costs of processing driver’s licenses for individuals granted deferred action. Yet the judge ignores the record evidence demonstrating that these initiatives have economic benefits for the states and the nation as whole.

5. There is widespread support for the deferred action initiatives.

According to the Migration Policy Institute, the cities backing the initiatives actually have a larger total population of undocumented immigrants than the states that are suing the federal government. The fact that those most impacted believe that the deferred action initiatives are beneficial to their communities is telling and undermines the plaintiff-states’ claims.

For more information: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line/wp/2015/03/09/a-dozen-states-will-call-for-courts-to-allow-obamas-executive-actions-to-proceed/

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