Obama immigration program, blocked by Texas judge, wins 14 states’ support

13 Mar 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Administration Asks Court to Lift Order Halting Immigration Programs.

California, New York and 12 other states are joining in the push to salvage President Obama’s plan to grant legal protection to millions of people in the U.S. illegally – even if it’s only revived in their parts of the country. Obama wants to give Social Security numbers, green cards and work permits to some who are in the country illegally, and guarantee them they won’t be deported for at least two years The U.S. government on Thursday asked an appeals court to lift a temporary hold on President Barack Obama’s executive action to shield millions of illegal immigrants from deportation, arguing it can’t wait for the judge who blocked the action to make a ruling on a similar request.

The Obama administration, fighting a lawsuit by 26 states against the president’s executive actions on immigration, asked a federal appeals court Thursday to lift an order by a judge in Texas that halted the programs.A federal judge recently halted President Obama’s executive action that would make millions of immigrants eligible to live and work legally in the United States, accepting the argument of Texas and other states that reforms will impose a fiscal burden on them.(Bloomberg) — The Obama administration went over the head of a federal judge who ignored the government’s Monday deadline to lift his order blocking a controversial immigration program.

Calling the legal reasoning behind the Feb. 16 injunction “unprecedented and wrong,” the administration filed for an emergency stay in the Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in New Orleans. Hanen, who issued an injunction last month halting the amnesty, went too far in halting the program nationwide, rather than just in Texas and its 25 fellow states that sued. “In short, the preliminary injunction is a sweeping order that extends beyond the parties before the court and irreparably harms the government and the public interest,” the lawyers said. The request, which you can read right here, is notable for the quick timetable it urges: It asks the court to act on the demand to lift the injunction within 14 days. Bringing undocumented workers out of the shadows is not only humane, it’s also good for the economy, and I’m leading a coalition of 14 states and the District that filed a brief Thursday with the U.S. This raises the possibility that the measures could, in fact, continue to go forward quite soon — while the underlying legal battle over them awaits resolution.

The states, led by Texas, argue that Obama’s action was unconstitutional and would force them to invest more in law enforcement, health care and education. It contests Hanen’s claim that the executive actions cause “irreparable harm” to states, in the form of money spent on driver’s licenses to beneficiaries, arguing that such harm is “indirect” and “speculative” — the result of state driver’s license policies — and thus not sufficient to show “standing.” It argues that Hanen was wrong to conclude that the states’ lawsuit against the actions is likely to succeed on the merits, claiming Hanen misstated the policy basics underlying the “prosecutorial discretion” rationale that justifies these actions.

It said that the court should lift the nationwide injunction entirely or limit it to Texas, the lead state in the lawsuit and the only one Judge Hanen specifically found would be harmed if the initiatives went forward. Deferred action helps immigration officials distinguish criminals and other high-priority aliens from aliens who are not priorities for removal and whose cases may additionally burden already backlogged immigration courts…DAPA and the expansion of DACA will advance important border-safety, public-safety and national-security goals in the public interest…the injunction also impairs the humanitarian interest of providing temporary relief for close family members of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents. “The administration turns Hanen’s ‘irreparable harm’ reasoning on its head, saying, in effect, ‘You want to talk about irreparable harm?

Hanen, whose courthouse sits a mile (1.6 kilometers) from the Mexican border in Brownsville, Texas, blocked the program hours before the administration said agents would start processing applications on Feb. 18. Allowing the decision to stand would hurt the Department of Homeland Security’s ability to police the border, the appeal says, by preventing authorities from concentrating on deporting criminals. But Hanen put that request on hold pending a hearing on March 19 to review allegations the government misled him about the implementation of part of the immigration plan. Rather than suffering financial losses, as Texas said it would if the programs went forward, “states will benefit from these immigration reforms,” they said.

This injunction hurts our national security and prevents us from enforcing immigration law in a sane manner.’” Interestingly, the government’s brief calls for the 5th Circuit to, at the very least, limit the injunction by confining it just to Texas (the only state that has standing), or barring that, only to the 25 or so states that are suing: The injunction issued by the district court is drastically overbroad. According to estimates by the Center for American Progress, allowing them to work legally will grow state tax revenue by $57 million over the next five years.

But Texas has on its side a longer list: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, West Virginia and Wisconsin. The judge then ruled that Texas was probably correct in saying the administration didn’t jump through the procedural hoops required to announce a major new policy. Yet the court enjoined DHS from implementing the Guidance nationwide, barring implementation in States that do not oppose it and in States that support it.

Government lawyers were referring to the latest expansion to the immigration program and didn’t mention the processing of immigrants who qualified under a 2012 version of the plan, according to the filing. The states allege that President Obama and the Homeland Security Department overstepped their authority to change U.S. immigration policy without Congressional approval. Obama’s broad use of executive power “sets a dangerous precedent that threatens the fabric of our republic.” He said the states allied with Texas would vigorously oppose an end to the injunction.

On the other side of the ledger, and contrary to the alarm of the states that filed suit, there is no evidence that deferred immigration action will increase state spending on health care or public safety. The administration on Thursday also asked the New Orleans court to give fast-track consideration to a full appeal of Judge Hanen’s injunction that it has filed. Furthermore, as law enforcement agencies across the country have pointed out, deferred action will reduce the hesitancy many undocumented residents have about reporting crimes or serving as witnesses. But the administration decided not to wait until then to ask for the stay. “The district court has taken the extraordinary step of allowing states to override the United States’ exercise of its enforcement discretion in immigration laws,” the government argued in its papers.

Applicants are to mail in paperwork that would be processed at a center in Virginia. “In practice, it would be hard to have a program in some states and not other states,” said Marc Rosenblum, a deputy director at the Migration Policy Institute. “It’s just a little hard to imagine how that would be enforced, since no one is checking where these people live.”

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