STATES’ LAWSUIT AGAINST EXECUTIVE ACTION HAD FIRST HEARING YESTERDAY; WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?

Originally posted by America’s Voice

Yesterday, the case filed by 25 states suing President Obama over executive action received its first hearing with federal judge Andrew Hanen.  The defendant (the federal government) has requested until the end of January to file another brief, which means that Hanen’s ruling won’t come until at least February.  There are several things that might happen in his ruling:

  • Standing — this is the first thing that the plaintiff states must establish.  If they can’t demonstrate that they suffer a particular harm due to executive action (and they are claiming all sorts of harms), then they don’t have standing, and the case will be thrown out.
  • Injunction – the states have asked that the judge hand down preliminary injunction while the case is pending.  This would block executive action while the case winds through the legal system.  If the judge has ruled that the states have standing, Hanen can either 1) deny the motion for an injunction, thereby allowing executive action to begin being implemented, 2) grant an injunction, or 3) grant an injunction only in the 25 states that have sued.
  • Stay — if Hanen hands down an injunction, a higher court can issue a stay.  That would freeze Judge Hanen’s decision granting the injunction and once more allow executive action to proceed while the case winds through the courts.

Below, with an informal quick-take and more details is David Leopold, an immigration attorney, legal consultant to America’s Voice and past president of the American Immigration Lawyers Association:

Does Hanen first need to rule on standing, or can he rule on standing and the injunction at the same time?

Think of standing as the question of whether or not the plaintiffs have shown they have suffered a harm that he can rule on. In other words, I could not sue because someone broke a contract with you. You would have to sue. I would have no standing.

So the judge first needs to agree there is standing, e.g. that the plaintiffs have articulated some harm to them over which he has the authority to rule. If, like the judge in the Arpaio case, he concludes there is no standing, he could dismiss on that basis alone. If he concludes there is standing he then (in the same opinion) will likely rule on the injunction. He could conceivably agree there is standing, but deny the injunction, so the two are not necessarily mutually dependent. Bottom line, the 25 states must show they have standing to sue. If no there is standing, there will be no injunction and the case fails. That would be the best result. According to many observers however, it’s more likely, given the judge’s background, that he’ll agree there is standing and will grant the injunction.

If Hanen issues an injunction would it affect DACA and Morton memos as well as executive action, or just executive action (i.e. DACA expansion, DAPA, new priorities enforcement memos, etc)? 

First, this is a hypothetical question. Let’s remember, the immigration executive actions are solidly legal; they are based constitutional and statutory authority and are consistent with deportation reprieves implemented by presidents of both parties dating back to Eisenhower.

That said, this is a much more difficult question because it involves complicated jurisdictional questions. And I don’t believe scholars are of one view about the answer. The rules governing declaratory judgments give the court authority to declare the rights of parties. Whether or not a ruling declaring the president’s executive actions unlawful would immediately apply across the country is a matter of debate. What’s clear is that an adverse ruling declaring the immigration executive actions unconstitutional, if allowed to stand (which I believe is unlikely at best), would affect DAPA and DACA expansion nationally. It would not impact the Morton memos because those are agency policy directives which are not targeted by the suit, and their legality has not been challenged. Nor would it likely affect most of the immigration executive actions related to business immigration issues. I think an adverse ruling would also effect DACA because the complaint asks for a ruling on the “deferred action program.”

Would an adverse final decision (from SCOTUS) affect DACA and the Morton memos as well as executive action, or just executive action (i.e. DACA expansion, DAPA, new priorities enforcement memos, etc)? In the 25 states or nationwide? 

Again, hypothetically, an adverse SCOTUS ruling would likely affect the well-settled tradition of prosecutorial discretion in general—and throw the entire immigration enforcement system into disarray because it could impact all exercises of deferred action, and, therefore all enforcement decisions. In other words, it wouldn’t be clear how much authority the president has to grant exercised prosecutorial discretion in immigration matters, including deferred action. It would be a royal mess.

But this is outcome his highly unlikely. As recently as its decision in Arizona vs U.S. SCOTUS reaffirmed that “a principal feature of the removal system is the broad discretion exercised by immigration officials.” Moreover, as stated, for decades presidents of both parties have granted deportation reprieves to large classes of undocumented immigrants. According to the Immigration Policy Center perhaps the most striking historical parallel to today’s immigration challenges is the “Family Fairness” policy which led President George H.W. Bush to offer a blanket deferral to as many as 1.5 million spouses and children of immigrants who were legalizing, provided they met certain criteria.

If Hanen issues an injunction and it’s stayed, will DHS be able to continue implementation of the program nationwide?

This is exactly what I predict will happen. And DHS will be able to continue implementation of DAPA and DACA nationwide. At some point some court is going to have to correctly apply the law. My hope is that it will be Judge Hanen who has sworn to uphold the law. But if not, my guess is that it will be the 5th circuit court of appeals—not because they like DAPA or DACA or Obama—but because as a federal appellate court they must ensure the integrity of the judicial system. The 25 states clearly lack standing to bring this suit and that’s exactly what I think the ultimate ruling will turn on.

How much time could pass between the issuing of a preliminary injunction and having it stayed by another court? 

Going out on a limb here, but I believe it will be very short—a matter of hours, if that much. My guess is that in the event of an adverse ruling the government will immediately ask the judge to stay his own order granting the injunction pending appeal. He may or may not do that. If he doesn’t, the government will probably immediately appeal to the 5th circuit and request an emergency hearing. And if that doesn’t work, the government will likely ask SCOTUS to intervene.

Mike DeWine’s decision to join Texas #immigration lawsuit hurts #Ohio

Originally posted by the Cleveland Plain Dealer on Cleveland.com2014-12-19 DeWine

By David Leopold

Forty-one million dollars.

That’s a serious piece of change. And it’s the amount of tax revenue Ohioans stand to lose over the next five years if Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine has his way.

DeWine has slapped the name of the Great State of Ohio on a Texas lawsuit seeking to stop President Barack Obama’s immigration-related executive actions that will bring 5 million undocumented immigrants out of the shadows. The process, known as deferred action, will require unauthorized immigrants nationwide to register, undergo criminal background checks and pay taxes. Ohio stands to gain $41 million dollars in tax revenue to be paid by an estimated 82,000 undocumented Ohioans who’ll qualify for the program.

That’s real money; money that could relieve Ohio financial strains and be used to hire teachers, firefighters and police officers.

Why would DeWine, who has always had a pragmatic, fair-minded approach to immigration, sign onto a lawsuit that’s not only frivolous, but reads more like a factually challenged press release than a well-reasoned legal complaint?

DeWine says his “decision to join the lawsuit in Texas has nothing to do with immigration policy.” Rather, so he claims, “It has everything to do with preserving our Constitution’s separation of powers and combatting the current administration’s consistent efforts to expand presidential authority into the traditional powers of Congress to make and change federal laws.”

That some very serious-sounding stuff. The good news is none of it’s true.

In fact the president is following the letter of the law — and doing exactly what Congress has required of the administration.

Let me explain.

The Constitution requires the president to “take care that the laws be faithfully executed.” Congress, which passes those laws has directed Obama to prioritize which undocumented immigrants should be deported. But Congress has only given the president enough resources to remove a fraction of the estimated 11 million living in the shadows, about 400,000 people per year. And since he’s been president Obama has done exactly that — he’s deported nearly half a million people a year — earning him harsh rebuke from his supporters, some of who dubbed him “The Deporter-in-Chief.”

What DeWine (and the Texas lawsuit) conveniently fail to mention is that Obama’s immigration actions do not stop deportations or even slow them down. The Department of Homeland Security will continue to deport nearly a half million undocumented immigrants every year whether or not Obama offers a temporary reprieve to DREAMERs and parents of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents.

Moreover — as DeWine undoubtedly knows — Obama’s immigration actions are nothing new. Presidents of both parties have used deferred action to postpone the deportation of large groups of undocumented immigrants, including abused women, hurricane victims and refugees.

So the question is not whether Obama’s immigration actions are legal (they are); it’s who of the 11 million should he go after first? Does it make sense to use limited immigration enforcement resources to focus on deporting dangerous felons, national security risks and recent border crossers? Or should the president concentrate on removing DREAMERS and mothers and fathers of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents.

The answer seems obvious to anyone concerned with the safety of Ohio communities.

Unfortunately it appears to be less obvious to DeWine. He ought to explain to Ohioans whom he’d rather see deported: a drug dealer in Cleveland, a gang member in Columbus or an undocumented mother working in the nurseries of Painesville or changing linens at a hotel in Toledo?

Does DeWine really think he’s doing Ohio taxpayers a service by signing onto a lawsuit that purports to protect the Constitution yet, in effect, aims to obstruct a lawful process which will hold 5 million undocumented immigrants accountable to their communities by requiring them to register, undergo criminal background checks, and pay taxes?

Sound bites, slogans, and frivolous lawsuits aside, the reality is that the immigration action undertaken by the president is not only legal, it’s damn good public policy. It will keep our borders protected by focusing more enforcement resources on border security, it will make our communities safer by getting rid of dangerous criminals and security threats, and it will keep American families together.

As a former prosecutor and U.S. senator, DeWine must know in his heart that Obama’s immigration actions are unassailably legal. Sadly, he has chosen to put Republican Party politics before the citizens of Ohio.

Fortunately he does not have the last word — Ohioans do. And they should demand that Attorney General Mike DeWine put partisan politics aside, do what’s best for the people of Ohio and remove the name of our great state from the meritless lawsuit in Texas.

Do Republicans have grandparents too?

Originally posted on Neil Steinberg’s blog.

BY NEIL STEINBERG
This is my grandfather, Irwin Bramson. I don’t believe his picture has ever appeared in a newspaper before. He would be delighted to see it here.
My grandfather was not famous, or successful, beyond supporting his family, working in a factory in Cleveland that made machine parts. He eventually owned his own house, on Rossmoor Road in Cleveland Heights. He was very proud of that.
My grandfather was born on a farm in Bialystock Poland, in 1907 and was sent to this country because things were very bad there and he had a relative, a distant cousin in Cleveland who owned an automobile parts factory and would employ him. He left at 16 and never saw any of his family again; they were all murdered, man, woman and child by the Nazis and their henchmen.
When he got here, he no doubt faced the scorn of those who felt that America was being corrupted by racially inferior immigrants such as himself that all manner of subhumans and Jews, were poisoning American blood, that they were constitutionally different and would never fit in.
But he did fit in. He never went to college, but he met my grandmother, got married—they went to the Century of Progress Exposition in Chicago on their honeymoon in 1934. They had three daughters, my mother being the eldest. Had they been born in Poland, they all would have been murdered too.
All of my memories of him involve him sitting in a green Barcalounger, watching “The Price Is Right.” He smoked cigarettes and drank bourbon. He sucked Luden’s Cherry Cough drops for his throat—he would die of emphysema in 1981.
He taught me chess. He would give me a dollar if I won and a dollar if I lost. He took me to my first baseball game. There was nothing mean or difficult about him. He did not complain. He asked nothing of anybody. In fact, he rarely spoke. He was a simple man, and I loved him.
Everyone in the United States, unless they are a Native-American, has a person like my grandfather in their past, someone who came over here to escape hardship or horror and make a life. Whether it was 5 or 50 or 500 years ago, the story is the same. They came over and the country let them in.
My grandfather became a citizen, not because he was a genius, not because he was harder working or smarter or better than any Mexican fording the Rio Grande. But because he could back then. There was an Ellis Island and a system that worked. Today Ellis Island is a shrine to ideals that half the country doesn’t believe anymore, who adopt the cruel role of the Americans who harassed their own forebears.
I thought of my grandfather, after I watched Barack Obama’s brief speech Thursday night—lucky I have cable because none of the networks, the supposed mainstream media supposedly in his thrall, bothered to show it. He announced his changes to immigration policy, to allow undocumented immigrants who have been here longer than five years to “get right with the law,” register and not fear deportation.
Before Obama even spoke, the Republicans, who oppose everything the president has done, is doing, or will do, made a show of opposing this too, a rare trifecta blending economic myopia, longterm political suicide, and lack of basic human decency. Only time will tell if they respond by trying to impeach him, shut down the government or some new strategem. The only thing that they are certain not to do is pass the comprehensive immigration reform which, announcing his stopgap, Obama called for.
That this is the right thing, that it is long overdue, that it will help the United States economy, that to do otherwise is cold hypocrisy and a denial of their own family, an insult the memory of my grandfather and theirs and the millions like him, never wrinkles their brow.
My wife and I watched the speech.
“He looks tired, frustrated,” my wife said.
“He’s trying to talk sense to idiots,” I said.
I’m glad I saw the speech, because I was starting to think very little of Obama, just by osmosis, just by living in a country where he is so despised. I wish he had done this three months, six months, a year ago. Not doing so was the kind of small, mean political calculation that has hobbled his presidency. The Democrats got drubbed anyway.
But now I realize, the bottom line with Obama is: he did what he could do. He didn’t waste effort trying the impossible. Even his narrowed options were tough to manage.
The good news is, he’s already won.
As with gay marriage, the notion of no longer keeping millions who came to this country illegally in rightless limbo forever will seem an impossibility until suddenly it doesn’t and everybody wonders what took us so long to do the moral thing. Then the people who are castigating the president now will be hard to find. Cornered, they will shrug off their fanatical opposition to people just like their own grandparents with some easy rationalization. What really struck me about the president’s speech is he could speak the words at all, that he somehow found the stamina to present a cogent argument to rabid enemies who stopped listening long ago. There is a nobility to that.

What the #Immigration Executive Actions Mean for You and Your Family: 8 Things You Need to Know

Originally posted on Huffington Post

Last week President Obama announced he will take series of executive actions designed to strengthen the border, hold undocumented parents of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents accountable by giving them a chance to register, pass criminal background checks and pay taxes. The Administration also plans to use the existing immigration law to promote investment and make the immigration system work better until Congress finally passes immigration reform.

1. There’s Nothing to Apply for Yet And Immigrants Should Be Careful Not to Get Scammed.

While the President has a released a broad outline of his immigration executive actions, the details, including the application process, have not been finalized. In other words, there is nothing to apply for yet and potential applicants should heed the warning posted on the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service’s website:

Important notice: These initiatives have not yet been implemented, and USCIS is not accepting any requests or applications at this time. Beware of anyone who offers to help you submit an application or a request for any of these actions before they are available. You could become a victim of an immigration scam.

2. The Deferred Action Program Will Apply Only to The Undocumented Parents of U.S. Citizens and Lawful Permanent Residents.

Perhaps the most dramatic of the executive actions is the President’s decision to offer a temporary deportation reprieve — formally known as Deferred Action — to undocumented immigrants with U.S. citizen and lawful permanent resident children.

The intent is to give parents a chance to come out of the shadows and get right with the law — register, pass criminal background checks and pay taxes.

To qualify an applicant will have to show, among other things, that he/she has been in the U.S. since before January 1, 2010, and is the parent of a citizen or lawful permanent resident born on or before November 20, 2014. The Administration hopes to have the application process in place within 180 days.

3. DACA Will Be Expanded To Make More DREAMERs Eligible.

Two years ago Mr. Obama offered a temporary deportation reprieve to qualified undocumented youth who had arrived in the U.S. as children. The process, known asDeferred Action for Childhood Arrivals or DACA, brought hundreds of thousands of DREAMERs out of the shadows so they could work and study. To be eligible a DREAMER had to show, among other things, that he/she had arrived before June 15, 2007 and been in the U.S. and under the age of 31 on June 15, 2012. While the process was a game changer for many DREAMERs, others did not qualify because of the entry deadline and age cap.

The executive actions will extend the entry requirement to June 1, 2010 and remove the age cap, permitting many more DREAMERs qualify for a temporary 3 year reprieve from deportation.

While the expanded DACA program is not yet in place, it is expected that the USCIS will begin receiving applications within 90 days.

4. Provisional Family Unity Waivers Will Be Expanded to Included the Undocumented Husbands and Wives Of Lawful Permanent Residents.

Most people think that if an undocumented immigrant marries a U.S. citizen or lawful resident he/she can get a green card. That’s both right and wrong. Many undocumented immigrants who qualify for a visa must apply at a U.S. consulate abroad, not from within the US. But when they leave the U.S. to apply, another part of the law bans them from returning for up to ten years.

The pain of this legal Catch-22 was eased somewhat in 2013 when the Obama Administration tweaked the application process so that undocumented husbands and wives of U.S. citizens could apply for family unity waivers before traveling abroad. The change spared many American families from prolonged separation from their loved one she traveled abroad and waited — sometimes for years — for the waiver to be processed.

The executive actions announced last week tweak the Family Unity Waiver process a bit more by a permitting undocumented spouses of lawful permanent residents (green card holders) to apply for waivers before departing the U.S, shielding many more American families from the pain of prolonged separation. The change will also save tax dollars by making the visa processing system more efficient and reducing the burden on government agencies.

5. Family Unity Will (Hopefully) Become the Rule Rather Than the Exception.

Some immigrants that are eligible for green cards first have to prove that their deportation would impose “extreme hardship” on their U.S. citizen or lawful resident spouse, parent or child.

The executive actions promise a new interpretation of “extreme hardship” which, hopefully, will recognize that separating parents from (American) children or spouses from (American) spouses is, by nature, an “extreme hardship.” A pro-family interpretation of the standard would ensure that, absent negative factors, more families remain whole.

Stay tuned on this one.

6. Immigrants With Green Card Applications or Other Temporary Status May Travel Abroad With Greater Assurance of Their Ability to Return.

The legal Catch-22 that keeps husbands and wives separated from their families for up to 10 years after foreign travel can also bar immigrants with lawful green card applications or other temporary status — even if they traveled home to visit an elderly parent or attend a funeral with advance permission (parole) from the Department of Homeland Security.

The President’s executive actions will give greater assurances to immigrants that they will be permitted to return to the U.S. and complete their pending green card applications or continue their authorized presence after necessary foreign travel on advance parole.

7. Existing Law Will Be Used to Expand Opportunities for Business, Investment and Job Creation.

The executive actions will include efforts to strengthen the economy and create jobs for U.S. workers by enhancing options for foreign entrepreneurs, attracting investment and generating tax revenue to ensure economic growth and extending existing post-graduate training programs for science, technology, engineering and math graduates of U.S universities. The Administration will also look for ways to improve the legal immigration system by reducing government costs, reducing burdens on employers and families and eliminating fraud.

8. The President’s Immigration Executive Actions Are An Important First Step, But They Are Not A Substitute Congressional Action.

The actions Mr. Obama has taken to make the immigration system work better are a bold and courageous (and yes-solidly legal) use of his lawful authority as President of the United States. But only Congress has the power to fix the antiquated, rigid and outdated immigration policy that plagues this country, devastates families, stymies American business and inhibits job creation.

We can only hope that amid the calls for lawsuits and legislation to block the President’s executive actions Republican congressional leaders will find the guts to do the right thing by the American People.

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