Briefly, on May 26, 2015, a divided panel of the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals refused to lift a temporary injunction against the implementation of President Obama’s executive action regarding the new November 2014 DAPA program and the expansion of the June 2012 DACA initiative. The Department of Justice (“DOJ”) had asked the 5th Circuit to reverse Texas federal district Judge Andrew S. Hanen’s decision to temporarily block implementation of President Obama’s programs while the lawsuit worked it ways through the courts. The decision states, “[b]ecause the government is unlikely to succeed on the merits of its appeal of the injunction, we deny the motion for stay and the request to narrow the scope of the injunction.”
For what it’s worth, I disagree (and I won’t repeat arguments I’ve previously made in this blog support of my position).
As a reminder, twenty-six states are suing the federal government over President Obama’s executive actions on immigration, and Judge Hanen issued an injunction on February 16, 2015 to enjoin DAPA and expanded DACA from taking effect while the lawsuit works its way through the courts. Pending the government’s appeal, the DOJ sought a stay of the injunction, arguing, among other things, that the nation’s immigration policy is the domain of the federal government, not the states. Judge Stephen A. Higginson, in dissent, wrote, “I would not affirm intervention and judicial fiat ordering what Congress has never mandated.”
It is my understanding that 5th Circuit will now hear oral arguments on July 10, 2015 in the Obama Administration’s attempt to lift (not stay) Judge Hanen’s preliminary injunction which blocked expanded DACA and DAPA from taking effect. In the meantime, the underlying case of Texas v. United States is still pending in the district court in Brownsville, Texas before Judge Hanen. The case is still in the early stages of discovery.
I find it interesting that a similar suit challenging President Obama’s actions filed by Maricopa County, Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio, Arpaio v. Obama, was dismissed by a Washington, D.C. federal court at the end of 2014. That case is currently on appeal before the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals.
Speaking in dissent, Judge Higginson spoke to the “political nature of this dispute” and noted that the courts have no role in this dispute. The federal court in Washington, D.C. must have understood this when it quickly dismissed Sheriff Arpaio’s similar suit challenging DACA and DAPA.
I have previously argued in this blog and elsewhere that not implementing expanded DACA and DAPA means that our country will not derive substantial economic benefits that the overwhelming weight of the evidence clearly shows would result from their implementation. More importantly, though, the delay or failure to implement expanded DACA and DAPA means millions of families will continue to be forced to live apart, in uncertainty, and under the threat of possible deportation. Please, can we just get past all the politics and implement some meaningful immigration reform? Stay tuned.